Bill Melendez’s simple but expressive animation continues and even expands a bit in this autumnal follow-up to the iconic Christmas special (though technically this is the third in the series, with the summer baseball special Charlie Brown All Stars preceding this by a few months). I love how much personality Melendez and co. get from the simple comics-inspired character designs.
The large swaths of autumn colors — oranges, greens, reds, browns — bring life to the special. It makes me want to grab a sweater and dive right in. I have a special admiration for the inky skies, which just make my heart ache they’re so beautiful.
Vince Guaraldi’s score remains absolutely perfect for the Peanuts midcentury ennui vibe, even if this soundtrack lacks a number as iconic as “Chrismastime is Here.”
The best story thread is, of course, Linus’s steadfast belief in The Great Pumpkin and the way everyone else reacts to it. It makes a fascinating counterpoint to the unambiguously Christian conclusion of the Christmas special, here a satire of religious obstinacy.
The rest of the story is a bit of a mixed bag for me. While I love the use of color and perspective in Snoopy’s fighter pilot excursion (and it provides a fascinating echo of self-delusion from other plot threads), I still feel like it sucks the wind out of the story’s momentum. The Snoopy piano dance segment also feels oddly perfunctory compared to how much fun it is in the Christmas special.
“I got a rock.”
Very Good (6/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.