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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Snoopy's Reunion is a 1991 short feature, and it's paired here with It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, a 1984 short feature. This addition to the Peanuts pantheon lacks the humor and humanity that make earlier specials so memorable. But there's nothing objectionable in 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. The scene in Snoopy's Reunion in which Snoopy and his many siblings are separated from each other and their mother when their new owners come to pick them up shows the puppies shedding tears and might induce the same in younger or move sensitive viewers.
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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're treated to Snoopy's backstory: 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 clichés from the '80s, from Flashdance to breakdancing, as Snoopy and the Peanuts gang bust their moves in various settings.
Is it any good?
Though these 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 only 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 story. A bonus featurette called Together Again: A Peanuts Voice-Cast Reunion, showing some of the voice actors together at Comic-Con 2008, reinforces the notion that this DVD is best appreciated by die-hard Peanuts fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how easily Charlie Brown and Linus make the decision to go buy a new dog -- no grown-ups involved. What factors do you need to consider as a family before you bring a new pet home? What responsibilities come along with pet ownership?
When Charlie Brown attempts to take Snoopy and his siblings to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, they discover it's now a five-story parking garage. What comment do you think the writers are trying to make about development?
What are some of the ways in which these Peanuts shorts are different from the classic Peanuts features from the 1960s and 1970s?
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