Judge Kristin Munson owns the world's only Easter Bichon. Take that Charlie Brown!
Our review of It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, published March 20th, 2003, is also available.
"That [Snoopy] sure is a weird looking kid."—Peppermint
There's something about the Peanuts gang that inspires intense love and loyalty, some chicken soup comfort factor that hooks you as a kid and keeps you coming back for the rest of your life. It's that unknown quantity that explains the regular parade of four-legged Snoopys and winged Woodstocks that pass through pet shops and vet clinics every week and the continued existence of the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine, a toy that appeared on the holiday list of every kid who ever opened a Sears catalogue. That factor also guarantees that the animated specials will be repackaged and re-released well into the next millennium, thus It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition is upon us.
In It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, Snoopy helps Woodstock find a swanky new home and Peppermint Patty is determined to teach Marci how to make Easter eggs. Lucy is just excited about eggs of the chocolate variety. "[Easter]'s not a time for getting, it's a time of renewal; the start of spring," Schroeder tells her. I could have sworn Jesus factored in their somewhere.
Carrying on with the springtime theme is the bonus special,It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown. When Sally has to do a report on Arbor day, she gets caught up in her research and decides to plant an orchard—right on her brother's baseball field (I suppose she could have done it on an unused ancient Indian burial ground, but that would have been a different special entirely). Snoopy and the kids get into the spirit of the project—which is odd, considering the gang's many encounters with kite-eating trees over the years—and an entire jungle springs up, right before the big game.
What stands out about Easter Beagle is that it's unusually simplistic for a Peanuts special. With the story split between Marci's misadventures coloring eggs, Linus' belief in the Easter Beagle, and Woodstock's soggy nest, there's almost no time left for Charlie Brown. There's also no Christian references whatsoever, which doesn't seem right when their widely beloved Christmas special is all about bypassing commercialism in favor of the true meaning of a holiday. That's not to say it's a bad special—Snoopy's exuberant "Hey!" when he leaps into a group of bunnies and starts frolicking with them gives me the same warm fuzzies as when I was a kid—but the Arbor Day cartoon is closer to the Peanuts I know and love. It's got the unrequited love stories between Peppermint Patty and 'Chuck', Sally and Linus and Lucy and Schroeder, the bungling baseball team, and a return to the precocious characterizations, with Lucy coming out as a Women's Libber.
This version of It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is a bit of an animated oddity, aimed at nostalgic adults rather than kids. Children don't care whether their cartoons are restored, they just want their cartoons. Speaking of which, the remastered full frame picture sports some minor scratches and dirt and looks slightly pale and the sound is nice but still mono, with the menu screen and trailers far louder than either of the specials. The fifteen minute featurette "In Full Bloom" features interviews with the Schulz family and other cartoonists and is mostly about the theological undertones in the 'Peanuts' strips and cartoons, despite the fact that there are none to be found on this disc. More disappointingly, Wikipedia states that minor footage was cut from the original Paramount DVD release and Warner Bros hasn't returned it to their 'deluxe' edition. That stinks worse than a bad Easter Egg.
If you already own the Paramount version, the scrubbed up visuals and remastered audio aren't spectacular enough to justify a second purchase, but for everyone else already looking to buy, this is the Easter Beagle you'd want to find in your basket.
Guilty of falling short of Snooptacular.
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