Quick-Thoughts: Bill Melendez’s Snoopy Come Home (1972)

Screened at The Beverly Cinema

“You got a used dog, Charlie Brown.”

Snoopy Come Home is thee movie I can recall the most of from my childhood, and there are probably some good reasons for that. Sure, it targets best for dogs given that it’s quite literally a coming of age story about being a pet to humans, but its secondary demographic would of course be children as the film attempts to correlate that pet to humans aspect with kid to parents, and subsequently parents to kid as the Peanuts gang debate just how much ownership they’ve really had over Snoopy while he’s away. 

Per usual, Melendez and Schultz prove themselves some of animation’s most dedicated theme conveyors. Here, they stress the importance of being content with the amount of independence you’re given. They make aware of this gap between settling with destined parental owners and the inevitable desired independence to be raised elsewhere no matter how good you have it. There are always worse parental figures out there, some who are even willing to treat their children on the level of animals like with the film’s momentary antagonist Clara who’s an exceptionally unpleasant prototype for Sid from Pixar’s Toy Story (1995). Schulz also seems invested in the past, such as with old friends or owners, controlling what you should do and therefore inspiring the youth’s initial confrontations with morality. He also suggests the audience to make the best out of inequities, especially since they can sometimes relieve you of tough and mature responsibilities that you may not be ready for – the movie uses humorous “no dogs allowed” signs to express this, but we all know its meant to let kids reminisce on their own experiences of being denied privileges as a child. From the perspective of the Peanuts gang, however, the film is also debating the natural yet imprudent nature of paranoia that we may have towards people close to us who clearly aren’t exactly like us, or better worded, not in exactly a similar stage of life as us, hence this parents trying to understand their kid motif going on, which is ironic because it’s mirrored by mere children who are trying to understand their dog.

It was really charming to see a movie this old though in an auditorium where the kids responded very eagerly to the slapstick just as I had as a child watching this during the early 2000s, and there are even some adult gags in this that genuinely had me laughing too – a taxpayer’s joke in particular had the whole crowd riled and moreover fitted right and well with this childhood allegory. Plus, Snoopy and Woodstock go acid tripping in this. Yeah.

Verdict: B

“Snoopy Come Home” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.

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