Cozy on up with “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Cozy on up with “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

A. Kong '17

Christmas is the best time of year for celebrating the joys of family, friendship, and childhood. If you’re looking to get in the sentimental Christmas mood, it’s time for you to (re)watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It is “one of the best movies ever,” according to Dr. Reyes. Parents and faculty were the first to witness this timeless classic based on the “Peanuts” comic strip after its release in 1965. Full of beloved and familiar characters such as Linus, Lucy, Sally, Snoopy, and more, the brief film sends a tranquil, cheerful message and is just as enjoyable for teenagers and adults as it is for young children.

In a short but packed half hour, Charlie Brown, feeling down during the holidays, embarks on a journey with the help of his friends to find his Christmas spirit. On discussing the film’s simple sketch-like animations and straightforward dialogue, Dr. Reyes says, “The crudity of the animation works better than other computer generated cartoons; it works together as a combination of form and function.” This manifests in the film’s unforgettable dance scene, where all the children – especially the twins and the boy in orange – get their groove on in preparation for their Christmas play.

Throughout Charlie Brown’s quest for his Christmas spirit, the film promotes the holiday’s authentic tradition, often obscured by commercialism and secularism amidst the countless holiday sales, upbeat songs, funny movies, and fuzzy Christmas sweaters that are commonplace today. Charlie Brown unearths his own love for Christmas after Linus, his adorable blanket-holding and thumb-sucking friend, delivers a sermon out of the blue on the true significance of Christmas.

In addition to the physical content of the movie, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” boasts an excellent score. The film’s mostly instrumental soundtrack contains fourteen pieces played by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, which features American jazz musician Vince Guaraldi, drummer Jerry Granelli, and bassist Fred Marshall. The slow, simple, and soothing music serves as the perfect backdrop for any peaceful and snowy setting.

Vince Guaraldi not only composes complete Christmas originals but also performs unique renditions of songs from “O Christmas Tree” to “Fur Elise,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and “What Child Is This.” The quiet, gentle songs add a jazzy and laid-back edge while preserving the original magic of the music.

In addition, Guaraldi incorporates his own famous pieces into the film, including “Christmas Time is Here,” “Skating,” “Christmas Is Coming,” and “Linus and Lucy,” better known as the renowned “Peanuts” theme song. “Christmas Is Coming” and “Linus and Lucy,” the more upbeat and funky pieces in the soundtrack, have piano rhythms and drum beats. One of the movie’s most popular songs, “Christmas Time is Here,” features both an instrumental and a vocal version sung by the pure, soft voices of Charlie Brown and his friends.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” complete with its impeccably modest music and thoughtful message, is a heartwarming portal to simpler Christmases of the past. If you’re looking for a perfectly charming film for a cozy night by the fireplace this holiday, this is certainly the film for you.