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Currant VHS cover art

3rd Peanuts film released in 1977

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"Kid Sized" adventure incarnate

  • Jan 11, 2010
  • by
I don't think there is a definition for what "Kid Sized Adventure" actually is but movies like this and Jumanji would have to come to mind in that they are aimed at kids and are just scary enough that they will make it through the movie without hiding under the bed later.  To wit, we have Race For Your Life Charlie Brown, and if you don't believe me about a scary good time, check out the old poster for the movie which features a screaming Peanuts gang in a raft about to go over a waterfall despite the posters promise of a fun wilderness adventure.  It's not quite a shock why this image got replaced with a happier and more charming one for a later VHS release.

In this movie, the Peanuts gang is off to the aptly named Camp Remote to experience a summer of bullys, blockheads, outdoor contests and roughing it in tents.  The contests conclude with a harrowing raft race down a river.  The boys and girls of the Peanuts gang each build they're own makeshift rafts out of innertubes and canopies but the trio of bullies have a sleek craft with radar and an outboard motor and resort to cheating every step of the way.  Along the way though Charlie Brown steadily grows more into a role of leadership while Peppermint Patty ever the tomboy is ready for action but lacks headstrong capabilities.

The Peanuts have done camp specials and comics before (and since) but here they can really go all out and showcase more perils that an outdoor adventure can offer.  A bad storm seperates the gang and is followed by a blizzard and the bullies cheat EVERY step of the way culminating with events where you REALLY want to see them lose this race and have the Peanuts gang win.

The movie also REALLY stretches those questions you can't help but ask such as:  If grown ups are in fact in the Peanuts Universe though rarely seen, who would let their kids participate in this race with the oppertunities to get lost in the wildnerness, getting hurt or attacked by animals, and going over waterfalls?  Not to mention that if the bullies are yearly competitors, who lets them use outboard motors or does anyone report they're cheating such as sabotaging rafts and putting up signs to lead to dangerous terrains with the construction site being a despicable one in particular?  Everytime the gang encountered a new peril all I could think of is "how scared would I be if I was that age and experiencing this?"  I know that suspention of disbelief should kick in when those types of questions come up and remember that it is only a cartoon, a cartoon that is meant to feature only children but you still wonder.  I also wonder why the kids expect Charlie Brown to lead the team and still chastise him for things beyond his control?  I guess thats why he's a blockhead.

Race For Your Life Charlie Brown isn't bad, it has the same creative team at the helm with Charles Schultz's familiar writing and having the lush colors that envoke the earliar Peanuts movies and why hand drawn animation still is better then digital while Ed Boga's music has a nice outdoors folk feel and envoking the right moods at the right time, especially the waterfall scene.  The movie bookends with a musical track that would channel a future Rusted Root.

Called the darkest of the Peanuts movies but some would argue the most fun, it is certainly the most adventureous of the bunch and good clean fun for the most part.  If you have a wee one who wants something a little more tougher then traditional kiddie fare then Charlie Brown's big screen outdoor adventure would certainly be worth looking up but if you really want to scare them, tell them the next time they get out of line they'll be sent off to Camp Remote.
The Peanuts gang in the river race Alone in the woods Camp activities Snoopy rides with style Preparing for the big race Off to the finish line

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More Race For Your Life Charlie Bro... reviews
Quick Tip by . January 11, 2010
Peanuts adventure at camp has Charlie Brown and the gang entering a raft race. Borderline scary that pushes a limit at times on it's trip.
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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Adventure, Kids, Peanuts, Charlie Brown, Woodstock, Snoopy, Camp, Linus, Blockhead, Raft, Lucy
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