T’was night at the movies, and all through the previews,
I shook in my seat from my hair to my shoes.
My father and I had arrived at the show
In the hopes it would hold to the hype’s promisin’ glow.
And so we sat nestled snug in our seats
With popcorn in hand and a boxful of sweets,
Awaiting Schroeder and Snoopy, Linus and Lucy,
Awaiting (we hoped) a good Peanuts movie.
When the logos began, I gritted my teeth,
For this film had giant expectations to meet.
I wanted humor and sweetness, I craved sarcasm, y’all!
And I prayed for Lucy to pull away that ol’ football.
But I worried – oh, yes, I feared Blue Sky would fail
To hold true to the comic, and like Ice Age, derail.
Most of all, I had doubts about scoring, you see.
Chris Beck could never beat Vince Guaraldi.
Guaraldi’s jazz trio gave charm and spirit
To that timeless classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas,
And while recording technology had improved over time,
Vince’s knack for characterization through score was sublime.
“No, he can’t be replaced!” I thought, “Not a bit!
Not those themes that encompassed childlike wit.
But Beck, I’ll hear you out, though you’re sure to fall.
So score: play away! Play, and play all!”
Play it did, and to my everlasting surprise,
The film pleased my ears even more than my eyes,
For Christophe Beck’s score was one of the best things I’ve heard
Since John Williams scored for a half-horse, half-bird.
He wasn’t showy, and his role he didn’t abuse
For as he himself said, he couldn’t fill Vince’s shoes.
So he kept classics intact for most of the show
But where innovation was needed, he gave it a go.
His score was dressed all in percussion and strings,
Trumpets and pipes and all kinds of new things,
For Beck decided that with this feature-length movie,
An orchestral score would sound real groovy.
Now, why did this score impress me more than most?
Well, for the answer, let us return to my first blog post
In which I said at the heart of any great adaptation
Tough decisions are made – choices that truly fit in.
In Narnia, the director chose to emphasize war,
In Peanuts, Chris Beck enlarged the score
To match the new structure where everything’s bigger
And rendered with a state-of-the-art 2015 computer.
A bridge had to be built across the old scene
Of hand-drawn animation, and the new 3-D sheen.
Beck constructed that bridge by taking old themes,
Honoring them, and expanding their schemes.
The best example of this is “Carnival Panic/ Linus and Lucy,”
Which plays at the very end of the movie.
Its new sound transforms into the old tune we adore
As it goes along – and that’s only one piece. There are so many more!
Well, about now you’ve realized I can’t hold a rhyme
And writing this thing has taken far too much time,
So I’ll say but one thing more, and I’ll keep it brief:
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Grief!”
This (obviously) was a parody of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, an actual poet who would be rolling in his grave if he could see how much I force my rhymes. Sigh…
Also, I wasn’t going to mention this, but I just can’t resist giving a huge BRAVO to the voice actors and the people responsible for casting them. And congratulations to Noah Schnapp on his breakout live action role in Netflix’s critically acclaimed show, Stranger Things. Beware the Demogorgon, Charlie Brown!