By JACOB CHRISTIAN – It’s A Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown is a movie that follows the perspectives of three characters, from very wildly different viewpoints, as they go about their day-to-day lives in Montreal during the ’80s. This disco-themed musical-turned-feature-film was directed by Stephen Hillenburg and starred Robin Williams, James Dean and The Annoying Orange. It premiered this spring at the Braxton-Higgs international film festival, winning the J.D. Power award for Best SUV with a Sunroof. I, however, didn’t get the opportunity to attend the festival, and only was able to see this movie in theaters this past November.
The movie follows the perspective of three different characters. With a run-time clocking in at 4 hours and 45 minutes, this movie is more three separate movies that switch back and forth at random. The first plotline follows James Dean’s character, Michael Scott, who is an incredibly charming regional manager of a Pennsylvania-based paper company, on his way to visit his mother for Christmas, but gets waylaid by a group of incredibly rough-and-tumble dance-fighting teenagers. The second plot line follows Robin Williams’s character, Jessica Collins, who is the 45-year-old single mother of two boys. This plotline is the darkest and clashes thematically with the rest of the movie. It deals with themes of depression, poverty, and the liberal agenda. The third plot line follows the perspective of Detective Clementine, a loose cannon police officer, that never plays by the book. In this story, Detective Clementine is working on stopping the gang violence, and ridding Montreal of its incredibly dangerous Dance-Fighting crime ring. This plotline deals with themes of epic dudes walking away from explosions with sunglasses on and not looking back.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really like this movie very much, but I can appreciate what it was trying to do. I think that it could be an enjoyable experience for people, but it just felt like it squandered a lot of its potential. One of the main issues I had with the movie was the runtime. It’s just too long, I got really bored whenever there wasn’t an explosion on the screen to distract my short millennial attention span, and that really soured the experience for me. Another problem I had was the fact that they really oversimplified the Montreal Dance-Fighting crisis of 1984. The movie really painted the Dance-Fighters as heartless monsters who didn’t have regard for human life and glossed over the fact that the mounties gave all the Dance-Fighters blankets that were infected by smallpox, and then sent them to live on reservations in New Mexico. Lastly, and most importantly, I feel that the main issue this film had was a lack of continuity. The writing really lacked an overall pacing and tone, and I feel that this is mostly because the script was written by a 10th-grade creative writing class, during a collaborative fiction unit.
That being said, there were a few things I really did like about this movie. First of all, I think that it had a lot of very interesting ideas that caught my attention near the start. I really liked how they filmed the whole movie from a second person perspective. It was a really interesting concept, I just think that it wasn’t the right sort of film to attempt it on. Another thing I really liked was the stark contrast between the animated fruit and the live action characters. It had a lot of potentials to lead to zany misadventures and classic food-based hijinx. Thirdly, I think that Robin Williams really knocked his performance out of the park. Every single one of his lines was oozing with character and I never once felt that I was watching an actor playing a character, but a real person who was dealing with the very serious issue of Canadian Dance-Fighting.
The cinematography of this movie was probably the most interesting part of the whole film. The movie was shot entirely in Second Person perspective, and It led to some very interesting shots. The usage of inverted colors in the Jessica Collins plotline really left a strong impression on me and served to help me understand her plight. I also think that filming the whole thing on a Nintendo DSi was a really bold choice and might inspire young aspiring filmmakers to expand on the idea.
Overall, I think that this movie had a lot of potential, but squandered it. This was largely due to a lack of cool explosions and love triangles. The lack of love triangles especially is unacceptable, given the budget of 200 million dollars and a ball of lint. Despite that, I really enjoyed my experience watching it, and still would recommend it if you are looking for something to watch on a rainy Tuesday.
This movie gets a 6/10, like if you agree.
Jacob is a senior and a first year reporter for the High Arrow. He joined journalism to use as a creative outlet and as a way to challenge himself and improve his writing.