The Peanuts Movie - CHRISTOPHE Beck
What You Will Hear: Lots of piano with fast paced full orchestra: sometimes light and airy, other times bombastic and big. The score also includes a song from Meghan Trainor and the Vince Guaraldi tunes (reworked by Beck) you’ve come to identify as Peanuts standards.
Standout Tracks: Snow Days, Fifi’s Theme, Charlie Brown In Love, Wingwalking, The Library, The Assembly, Curse You Red Baron, Winter Becomes Spring, Never Give Up, Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, Linus And Lucy
Will You Be Humming Along? Yes, there is an original theme heard as a fanfare, lullaby, and everything in between. Fifi (Snoopy’s love interest) gets a fun melodramatic theme. And of course, the Guaraldi tunes are classic.
The score this makes me want to dust off: Paper Planes – Nigel Westlake
Will I come back to it? Yes. I had no idea what to expect from this film. But, after my first few listens, I’m extremely excited to see it. The main theme is straight and to the point: always joyful. No matter how it is voiced, it is a clear reminder that adventure (from a child’s perspective) is around every corner. Much like his scores for Paperman and Frozen, Beck’s instrumentation is also a triumph. He doesn’t hold the orchestra back. Visit “Good Ol’ Charlie Brown” for wonderfully uplifting use of the full orchestra. In just one minute, you’ll experience the magic of the bells, the flowing strings, and the fanfare of the brass all wrapped up in one nice little package. It is a microcosm for the full score experience.
At first, the unexpected amount of action was a little bit of a let down. I had hoped for a more subdued interpretation of The Peanuts antics. After all, the source material rarely took the normal route to laughs or lessons. But, as I got into the score, I let go of this expectation because the adventure is just too fun to ignore. (Enjoyed the Red Baron cue!) The composer walks right up to the line of “generic kids movie,” but never crosses it. His instrumentation (again) saves the day. While the brass and percussion are let loose, the woodwinds and strings keep things light enough to make the action Peanut-y enough for me. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find tracks like “Linus And Lucy.” This final offering is a beautiful coda for the album. Beck uses the most famous material from the classic Peanuts cartoons, but writes it with a chord structure and pulse that could melt even the coldest heart (I’m looking at you, Lucy.) I sincerely hope this track is the true end of the film, maybe with Charlie Brown and Linus at their usual spot, carrying on one of their usual philosophical conversations.
You won’t find much time to breathe on The Peanuts. There is so much more action than expected, but the experience is a fast paced adventure with heart. And that is, perhaps, the best part of this score. When it comes to The Peanuts, things have been Hollywood'ed up, but it sounds like Christophe Beck has done a wonderful job keeping the magic of childhood alive and well.