Seeing the 3-D computer versions of the Peanuts gang takes a few minutes to get used to; the female characters seem to adapt the best, but Linus and Pig Pen look like they have hair plugs culled from the twigs of a dead tree.
There are no famous actors voicing the children - Blue Sky uses unknowns just as the producers did for the television special holy trinity "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965), "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966) and "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973).
"Remember, it's the courage to continue that counts," Linus says in the first five minutes, sounding like a professor of pop culture as he prompts the audience that there is dignity in Charlie Brown's constant optimism/failure cycle.
Co-writers Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano speed the gag-to-musical interlude ratio up to 21st-century animated movie levels, wisely leaning heavily on Woodstock for comic relief.
The movie and TV veteran manages to weave in several Guaraldi beats along with a few modern songs in the musical score - and makes it all sound like classic Charlie Brown.
Pixar's "Inside Out" had a tighter narrative, but both 2015 animated films aim their emotional impact squarely at the chaperones in the audience, and carve out buried emotions with a scalpel.