Judge Paul Pritchard worked up a real sweat writing this review. You really don't want to know how.
"That's the only trouble with tennis: You can't play it alone."
Remember when sports were all about the taking part, rather than winning at all costs? Remember when money wasn't all important and gamesmanship actually meant something? Warner Bros.' release of You're A Good Sport, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition on DVD harkens back to those halcyon days, and offers up a lesser-known Charlie Brown special in the process.
When Peppermint Patty introduces the Peanuts gang to the world of Motocross, Charlie Brown, Patty herself, and Snoopy (in his Masked Marvel guise) find themselves competing for the chance to win two tickets to the Pro Bowl. While Patty already has a bike, and Snoopy is quickly in possession of a tricked-out ride, Charlie, who is apprehensive about entering, pools his money with Linus, who also offers to act as his pit crew. Still only able to afford the cheapest bike available, Charlie is soon is wiping out on the track, and, in one of the film's funniest moments, forced into wearing a helmet made from a carved-out pumpkin.
Originally released in 1975, You're A Good Sport, Charlie Brown has lost none of its magic. From Snoopy losing his rag during a tennis match to Marcie's interview technique that quite literally leaves her interviewees speechless, there are golden moments here that are not reliant on the warm glow of nostalgia to work.
Backing up the main feature is the equally enjoyable You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown, which sees our follicle-challenged friend represent his school in the Junior Olympics. Coerced into participating by Peppermint Patty, Charlie is put through an arduous training program to get himself in shape for his event: the decathlon. Following Charlie's less-than-impressive displays Patty finds herself unsure he has what it takes to win, and so enters her lackey, Marcie, as a backup. Standing in Charlie and Marcie's way are Freddie Fabulous from Fremont and The Masked Marvel, representing the Ace Obedience School.
What's so appealing about You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown is the differing personalities of the competitors. Whereas Freddie Fabulous is brash, arrogant, and a sore loser, Charlie and Marcie frequently complement each other, regardless of who is winning. Snoopy, on the other hand, is in a world of his own, as he so often is. Barely interacting with the other characters, Snoopy (or should I say The Masked Marvel?) provides most of the film's funniest moments, with his attempt at the pole vault being especially memorable.
Though crude by today's standards, the animation in You're A Good Sport, Charlie Brown is rich with character. There's a beautiful simplicity to the work, with Vince Guaraldi's delightfully playful soundtrack complementing the artwork perfectly.
The DVD transfer, though remastered, shows its age. Grain is evident, while the picture is a little soft and colors often appear a touch dull. However, these flaws are not distracting and actually add to the appeal of revisiting this charming cartoon.
The short (11-minutes) featurette, "Dust Yourself Off and Pick Yourself Up, Charlie Brown," reveals Charles Schulz's own son, Craig, to be the inspiration behind the main feature, thanks to his love of Motocross. Complete with home video footage of Craig tearing across the family golf course on his bike, "Dust Yourself Off" features Craig himself recounting his father's work with a great deal of affection. So often DVDs are crammed full of special features that hold little to no replay value, but "Dust Yourself Off," despite its lack of length, contains so much enthusiasm and heart that it is easy to see it being viewed each time the DVD is taken from the shelf.
You're not guilty, Charlie Brown!
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