Written by Charles M. Schulz
Directed by Bill Melendez
The DVD titled A Charlie Brown Valentine actually consists of three separate animated specials featuring the Peanuts gang as created by Charles M. Schulz. The first, from which the DVD gets its name, is the first special created after Schulz’s death, but based on strips he had crafted over the years and which had appeared in the comics section of many newspapers.
While I found the three selections on A Charlie Brown Valentine to be cute and entertaining, they weren’t as good as many other classic Peanuts specials I fondly remember through the years.
A Charlie Brown Valentine
Rather than a story, we have a central theme winding its way through the title sequence and subsequent 23 minutes. Charlie Brown is trying to think of the perfect valentine for the little red-haired girl. Meanwhile, the other Peanuts characters are fretting over their own romantic woes. Well, all except Snoopy, that is, who seems to have no issues with romance other than coming under constant criticism for his prose while trying to compose Valentine’s greetings for the gang.
I can remember seeing some of the skits contained in this over the years in the comic section of my newspaper, particularly the sequence where Charlie Brown sits beneath the mailbox waiting for all the Valentines that are going to be delivered.
The animation is crisp and vivid, so I could tell it had been a recent creation. The colors are good and I liked the voices. There just is something missing when there’s no real central story such as in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or A Charlie Brown Christmas.
There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown
It’s not really a Valentine’s Day special but has more to do with school. It seems like whoever was compiling the DVD heard the title, which comes from a statement by Peppermint Patty when she’s complaining about all of the schoolwork they have, and decided it belonged on a Valentine’s-themed disc.
However, this one might be the best offering of the three, so that oversight can be forgiven. The central theme is around a field trip to an art museum gone wrong. Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty end up at a supermarket instead. This one is a bit older as I could see right from the start. The animation was a bit less crisp. However, it has more heart to it with a central story surrounded by typical Peanuts fare of Snoopy acting like “Joe Cool” and Marcie driving Peppermint Patty crazy by calling her “Sir”.
Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown
While watching a football game on television, Charlie Brown spots a face in the crowd and instantly falls in love. He and Linus embark on a quest to find this girl. It’s cute but at the same time, I felt strange about it. All through Peanuts lore, Charlie Brown’s heart has belonged to the little red-haired girl and now a different girl enters the picture.
Although there have never really been adults present in the world of the Peanuts characters, I felt a little uncomfortable seeing where Linus and Charlie Brown go in search of this girl without any supervision. It’s all right to see little or no adults when they are hanging around their own neighborhood, but to venture to a major sports stadium by themselves and then out into the countryside seems like it’s condoning the boys going off on their own. I don’t know any parent who would be comfortable with that, even back in the early 1980s when this was made.
The three animated features on A Charlie Brown Valentine are cute and I am sure most kids will really enjoy watching them. The characters are all there in the usual familiar setting and behaving in a way those of us who grew up with the characters expect. However, there’s something missing in general. I’m not a fan of the way they throw together various sketches loosely around a central theme, so the best of the lot was the second.
Charlie Brown ended up ahead in that one, the same sort of uplifting ending that was present in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Whereas the other two were sort of a let-down. There also wasn’t much of Snoopy except for several sequences in the title piece.
While I definitely would not avoid A Charlie Brown Valentine, it’s not something I would feel the need to have in my collection unless you were an avid collector and had to have all of the specials.