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Thread: One of the most memorable endings to a childrens film ever

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    One of the most memorable endings to a childrens film ever

    So, like, this might seem like to small of a deal to make an entire thread about, but screw it, I'm feeling inspired.

    We all know that Charles M Schultz Peanuts had a certain feeling of melancholy and cynicism to it, and what made me start thinking about this thread is the fact that this is an aspect that sadly the new Peanuts movie largely lacked. After watching the new movie, I then went on to watched for the first time in years, one of the best examples of melancholy and cynicism in the entire Peanuts franchise, namely the feature lenght movie Snoopy Come Home. And Oh God good, the ending to that movie is honestly one of the most daring endings to a movie I have ever watched. Those of you who have seen and remember the movie probably knows exactly what Im talking about, but for the rest of you, I wanna give you the deal. It'll take a little while to read perhapes but please take that time, because I wanna share with you an example of a truly ballsy move for a film, espeially a children's film, to make:

    The movie is about Snoopy getting a letter from his previous owner, a little girl named Lila. Some years ago she had no choice but to give Snoopy away (I cant recall the exact reason why) even though it broke both of their hearts at the time. In present time, Lila has become sick in some serious illness (it is not stated exactly what this illness is, but certain comments indicate that it is something potentially very dangerous or even fatal). As she is forced to live at the hospital she misses Snoopy enormously and writes a letter to him begging him to come back to her. Snoopy recieves the letter and leaves to meet her.

    At this point it is worth pointing out that there is a running joke in the movie in that wherever Snoopy goes (trains, stores, beaches) he comes across "No Dogs Allowed" signs and is kicked out.

    Anyway, Snoopy reaches Lila and they have a heartfelt reunion. He stays with her a few days, and it is stated that she actually gets better from her illness just from the happiness of having Snoopy around. At one point she even says that he being by her side "saved her". But things turn complicated when Lila asks of Snoopy to stay and live with her permanently. Because even though Snoopy cares about Lila, he really wants to stay with Charlie Brown. Lila makes it clear that Snoopy can choose for himself, but when he chooses to leave her and go back to Charlie Brown she nevertheless begins crying. Snoopy feels incredibly guilty and decides ro stay with Lila after all, even though he really doesnt want to. Snoopy then goes to visit Charlie Brown one last time before he moves permanently to Lila, and both Snoopy and Charlie are utterly destroyed at having to separate.

    And then comes the ending. Snoopy goes to the hospital with a heavy heart, wanting nothing more than to go home to Charlie Brown but being unable to do so, due to not being able to live with the guilt of leaving behind a sick little girl who loves him. However as he is standing on the doorsteps, he spots something on the side of the building that he didn't notice before... a "No Dogs Allowed" sign. And he is overjoyed. He smiles and dances and just cannot contain his happiness, as faith has now given him a valid reason to turn down Lila and go back to Charlie without him having to feel guilty. Even as Lila comes to greet him and he points to the sign (that she herself was unaware of or had completely forgotten) he cannot help but grin, even despite the fact that Lila reacts in shock and disapointment. Snoopy then happily runs home to Charlie Brown while some marry music plays in the background and Charlie and the rest of the gang celabrates Snoopys return. What makes this ending so melancholic, in fact almost disturbing, is that despite being a happy ending for our main protagonist, it is at the very same time such an unbelievably cold and sad ending for Lila. There is absolutely no resolution for her whatsoever. The very last we see of her is her looking extremely depressed while watching Snoopy happily skip away from her life as if she was nothing. And that's it. And then there is the fact that we, the audience, were told of the fact that sealed her fate by means of a running joke. The "No Dogs Allowed" joke that had been just a minor lighthearted gag throughout the film is what leads to the films conclusion, a happy conclusion for one person but a very sad one for another. And the movie seems to intentionally focus only on Snoopy's point of view at that instant, as the music playing in the background is extremely cheerful and the general presentation of the scene is of the "happy ending" variety. Lila's story meanwhile is just thrown to the wayside.

    And that is the kind of brilliantly melancholic ending that only Peanuts could ever do so well. Schultz nearly always gave his stories sad (or at least bittersweet) endings for the main character. And now, one of the few times that the main character gets a happy ending... it also happens to be another characters sad ending. Schultz always wanted to show his audience the realities of life, that thing's usually dont turn out the way we want them to. And this time he instead showed that on those rare occasions where everything does seems to work out for you... then that very same moment can be something terrible for someone else. Think about if you were to you win at the lottery for instance, and about how maybe the person who would have bought the winning ticket if you hadn't might have lived a much happier life if it weren't for you. But we tend not to dwell on that aspect, and so the movie doesn't dwell on it either. Much how we treat the unfortunate fate of others as unimportant as long as we are happy, so does the movie very intentionally ultimately treat the missery of one character as a background event. And I like to believe that it does this precisely to make us for one moment aware of something that we usually aren't.

    And good God, it would have been one thing if Lila had just been some minor character in the film that never gained the audience's empathy to begin with, but oh no. She is a fully present character in the story, and comes of as a very goodhearted person. Just watch the scene that introduces her (and listen to one of the Sherman Brothers most beautiful songs):

  2. #2
    *RIP Marcia Wallace* TriforceBun's Avatar
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    Sep 2004

    Nice write-up. I almost wish I hadn't read it and just experienced the movie firsthand, but it did pique my interest in it either way. That character introduction is pretty charming too.

    I've always enjoyed the Peanuts series but haven't gotten around to watching the new film.
    My Nintendo webcomic,

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