This year, I discovered two Charlie Brown Christmas movies I had never seen before. Part of me was excited, but I also wondered how the more modern short films would compare to A Charlie Brown Christmas, the 1965 short I’ve grown up watching.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is an extremely brief film at only eighteen minutes in length. One at a time, the short film focuses on each of the main Peanuts characters, depicting brief scenes of the protagonists and highlighting their personalities. Each section of the film is like a Christmas postcard about the main characters, and the movie lacks a major storyline. Interestingly, Christmas Tales introduces a new character to me, Lucy and Linus’ little brother Rerun. At first I thought Rerun was Linus, but I eventually figured out who he was as I began watching the next short film.
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
A much more substantial forty-three minutes, I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown stars Rerun and Snoopy. The main storyline follows Rerun’s attempts to get a dog of his own. Rerun pesters Charlie Brown about playing with, and even buying, Snoopy and is constantly inventing new tactics for acquiring the dog he longs for. Like Linus, Rerun is very serious but is still convincingly the youngest child because he is more whiney and less well-read than his older brother.
While I still prefer the 1965 Christmas short film, Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales and I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown are enjoyable too. I like the new storylines involving Snoopy in I Want a Dog, and Rerun is a fun new character. Both films are humorous and have the jazzy Peanuts music I love, including some additional tunes. And although neither film has messages as deep as in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charles Schulz still includes some thought-provoking moments.