What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this addition to the Peanuts pantheon lacks the humor and humanity that makes earlier specials so memorable. But there's nothing objectionable to the two stories included on the DVD, just lots of views of Snoopy's childhood and siblings, some good bluegrass music, and some wincingly dated 80s-era song and dance.
What's the story?
It's flashback time in SNOOPY'S REUNION, in more ways than one. In the feature story, first aired as a TV special in 1991, we are treated to Snoopy's back story: his early (musical) life on the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, his first owner -- not Charlie Brown! -- and how he came to live with the round headed boy. A few years down the road, Charlie Brown (voiced by Phil Shafran) senses his dog is homesick for his seven littermates and brings them together for a musical, if anticlimactic, reunion. The bonus episode entitled "It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown" is packed with musical and pop cliches from the '80s, from Flashdance to breakdancing, as Snoopy and the Peanuts gang bust their moves in various settings.
Is it any good?
While these two specials were written by Charles Schulz, they don't stand up to the brilliance of earlier Peanuts specials and feel in places as though the animation is just there to hold up the songs. Snoopy's fans -- and there are many -- will appreciate the glimpses of his early life and his emergent personality, as well as the siblings who are just different enough to go their own ways. And the "Flashbeagle" episode gives Peppermint Patty (Gini Holtzman) a chance to shine, explaining how her lack of academic success is more than compensated for by her sporty side.
But the plot and humor just don't keep up in either episode. A bonus featurette called "Together Again: A Peanuts Voice-Cast Reunion," showing some of the voice actors together at ComicCon2008, reinforces the notion that this DVD is best appreciated by die-hard Peanuts fans.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how easily Charlie Brown and Linus make the decision to go buy a new dog -- no grownups involved. What factors do you need to consider as a family before you bring a new pet into it? What responsibilities come along with pet ownership?