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Peanuts Specials DVDs Reviewed:Peanuts 1960's Collection Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 2
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection (It's the Great Pumpkin / A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving / A Charlie Brown Christmas)
It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown
You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD Review

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Writer/Creator: Charles M. Schulz / Directors: Bill Melendez, Larry Leichliter / Producers: Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez / Music: Vince Guaraldi, John Scott Trotter, David Benoit

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Chad Webber (Charlie Brown), Robin Kohn (Lucy), Stephen Shea (Linus), Hilary Momberger (Sally), Todd Barbee (Russell), Brian Kazanjian (Schroeder), Linda Ercoli (Violet), Bill Melendez (Snoopy, Woodstock)

He's a Bully, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Spencer Robert Scott (Charlie Brown), Stephanie Patton (Lucy), Benjamin Bryan (Linus), Rory Thost (Peppermint Patty), Jessica Gordon (Marcie), Sierra Marcoux (Sally), Jimmy Bennett (Rerun), Taylor Lautner (Joe Agate), Bill Melendez (Snoopy)

Running Time: 59 Minutes (47 - specials, 12 - bonus) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Ratio), Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 & Stereo 2.0 (English, Japanese, Portuguese); Subtitles: English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai; Not Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled in All but English
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.98
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Black Keepcase in Embossed, Reflective Cardboard Slipcover

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Maybe your schools were different, but experience taught me the two crowning achievements of being in student council
were earning more votes than the competition and getting a special group photograph in the yearbook. Beyond that, it's busy work with an exaggerated sense of duty. Still, even if you view the job as college application padding, you have to recognize the intrigue of the popularity contest election process. Apply that to the Peanuts gang, renowned for wittily bringing mature perspectives to juvenile issues, and you're in for something brilliant.

Indeed, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown does attain brilliance. It looks like others have come to agree with that opinion, since the 1972 animated TV special has been elevated from lesser-known bonus short to feature attraction status. Elected gained considerable exposure when it was chosen as the fitting accompaniment to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on its 2000 Paramount DVD release. Now in the stables of Warner Home Video, Elected claims the title of its own Remastered Deluxe Edition, arriving a month after Pumpkin.

Put up a colorful sign in the hallway and kids will notice. Linus hatches an election campaign for student body president with Lucy and Charlie Brown showing support. Linus takes questions on a call-in radio show moderated by Lucy and technically facilitated by Snoopy.

Timing is probably partly to credit for the upgrade. You're Not Elected deals foremost with a presidential campaign, the very thing that's on the minds of our nation and media right now. But I'm convinced that audience esteem is also responsible for getting this special its top billing. Half of the first variance from Paramount's sensible disc line-ups,
Elected brings the count of Warner Peanuts specials standalone DVDs up to six, including the two holiday favorites arriving alongside it.

Emmy-nominated You're Not Elected may not have the seasonal staple factor that the holiday Peanuts works do, although it does exude a strong autumn feel based on pleasant foliage imagery, a major nod to the Great Pumpkin, and the very nature of standard class election dates. But for most viewers, the program impresses less for capturing the feel of an annual period and more for its gentle satire of the political process. Reaching out to voters, opinion polling, making wild promises with grandiose expressions, costly speech gaffes, neck-and-neck competition... it's all found here in the earnest Linus' race for Birchwood School's student body president against low-key classmate Russell Anderson.

As usual, though Peanuts is certainly a comedy line, it's not of the gut-busting variety. Humor is abundant but this special proves that you needn't be laughing heartily and consistently to leave something funny feeling satisfied. The tone it strikes contributes to its rampant appeal; Elected is certain to delight not just today's children and children of the '70s, but anyone of any age willing to see animation as more than trivial kiddie fodder. Its observations on the election trail hold up today as keen and accurate.

Elected is accompanied by He's a Bully, Charlie Brown (2006), the most recent Peanuts creation to date. It makes its home video debut here.

Joe Cool... back in school. Hangin' round the water fountain. Playin' the fool. Charlie Brown stands up to marble hustler Joe Agate in the 2006 special "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown."

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown (25:12) (First aired October 29, 1972)

Linus encourages Charlie Brown to compete for student body president, but when Lucy's numbers show that the blockhead doesn't have a chance, Linus runs instead. With Lucy handling polling and arranging for a call-in radio show
plus Snoopy and Woodstock helping with signs, Linus seems like a shoo-in for the presidency. A supporting diversion involves Sally's trouble at school, her roundabout way of explaining it to her big brother, and her attempt to earn an A in "Show and Tell." This special also makes fine use of Snoopy, bringing his sunglass-wearing Joe Cool persona to school.

He's a Bully, Charlie Brown (21:32) (First aired November 20, 2006)

While Peppermint Patty is stuck in summer school, Charlie Brown and everyone else head off to summer camp. There, Linus' little brother Rerun learns the game of marbles from shrewd pro Joe Agate. When Joe takes all of Rerun's marbles including his grandfather's lucky shooter, Charlie Brown gets lessons from Joe Cool Snoopy to beat the bully at his own game.

Though the pristine computer-aided animation instantly distinguishes this from yesteryear treasures, this actually isn't a bad special. Part of that may be tied to the fact that it uses story concepts from Charles Schulz's comic strips. Per the terms of the Peanuts creator's contract, this and all shorts henceforth must be based on ideas he introduced before his 2000 death. In this case, strips from 1995 are the source for this special that Schulz actually pitched himself.

Charlie Brown listens to his sister Sally's locker complaints while walking to school in the fall. Still from Paramount's 2000 DVD - click to view screencap in full 720 x 480. Charlie Brown listens to his sister Sally's locker complaints while walking to school in the fall. Still from Warner's 2008 DVD - click to view screencap in full 720 x 480.

Screencap from Paramount's 2000 Great Pumpkin DVD

The same frame on Warner's Remastered Deluxe Edition

Though Warner's DVD is sharper and cleaner, its colors don't always make sense,
like this yellowish sky and mustard grass.

VIDEO and AUDIO

As always, the disc's specials are presented in their original 1.33:1 fullscreen. Living up to its banner moniker, You're Not Elected has been remastered and looks pretty good. It's definitely not perfect; you'll easily spot the occasional anomaly like a persistent spot or passing speck. But the colors are quite vibrant, the element is largely clean, and yet simplicity endures, faithful to the charming budget animation.

The difference between the special's appearance on this DVD and Paramount's 2000 Great Pumpkin disc isn't as drastic as some other remasters have yielded. Even on an average-sized TV, it's easy to notice that Warner's transfer is a bit sharper and less grainy. Side-by-side screencap comparisons illustrate color dissimilarities. I've noticed the same thing in the past, but this time, Warner's hues don't always look as aesthetically pleasing as Paramount's. (See above.) While Warner's picture was always better overall, I'd say I felt better about Paramount's colors about half the time.

He's a Bully looks and sounds perfect. Though the presence of CGI in a Peanuts short will make some cry sacrilege (that was absolutely my gut instinct), the 21st century production does an okay job of staying true to the long-established visual palette. And the bright, immaculate presentation certainly isn't hindered by anything detectable by the naked eye.

There isn't much to say about the audio. Each special has a basic soundtrack befitting the Peanuts' mild ways. Elected is in Mono, while Bully utilizes two speakers in Stereo. Subtitles are again offered in abundance; although Spanish speakers are out of luck this time, five subtitles and two dubs translate the fun into Asian tongues.

Longtime Peanuts specials executive producer Lee Mendelson and Charles Schulz's wife Jeannie are among those interviewed for nice making-of featurette "The Polls Don't Lie." The 16x9 main menu takes half of the cover images and rocks out the rare caret in its title.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, DESIGN and PACKAGING

Keeping with tradition, one brand new featurette stands as the central bonus. "The Polls Don't Lie: The Making of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" (12:08)
provides a substantial reflection on the title special. Once again, Warner and supplements producer Trailer Park have rounded up an impressive roster of interview subjects, including producer Lee Mendelson, Charles Schulz's wife Jeannie, recently-passed director/producer/animator Bill Melendez, animator Phil Roman, Peanuts historian Scott McGuire, and -- a unique touch -- the voices of Sally and Russell. Among the topics covered are a comparison of the 1964 strips and the TV special, the incongruity of the opening song after a last-minute title change, and the still-relevant targets of political processes.

"Trailers" holds previews for the Remastered Deluxe Editions of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas, Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King, Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 6, and "The Smurfs": Season One, Volume Two. In addition, the disc opens with a Wizard of Oz-flavored anti-piracy promo.

In menus and packaging, You're Not Elected maintains the striking design established for earlier Warner Peanuts discs. Its sleek slipcover embosses characters, lines, and select text on all four sides. In-case inserts provide savings on a frozen dinner and studio portraits, plus a pitch for On Demand Peanuts specials.

You can get with this or you can with that... Charlie Brown introduces the candidates for Birchwood School's next student body president: Linus van Pelt and Russell Anderson. Peppermint Patty calls to hear about the fun she's missing while in summer school.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown is one terrific special that remains extremely entertaining today. He's a Bully, Charlie Brown isn't nearly as good as classic Peanuts, but for being the latest work and just two years old, it isn't as bad as I feared. The two of them together, along with the nice companion featurette, merit a recommendation for those not already owning Paramount's Great Pumpkin DVD. Those who do will find a better overall package for You're Not Elected here. But picture improvement is mild, not uniform, and the price is a bit higher than it needs to be. So while I'd advocate an upgrade, I'm guessing more significant ones might be had on the Remastered Deluxe Editions of the fall holiday discs. Prioritize accordingly.

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Related Reviews:
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Editions)
Peanuts: 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
New to DVD: Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection Alvin and the Chipmunks: Classic Holiday Gift Set Holiday Treats
My Neighbors, the Yamadas Eloise at Christmastime Brother Bear 2 My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie
Student Elections: Lizzie McGuire: Box Set Volume 1 Wayside: The Movie Teacher's Pet Popular: The Complete Second Season
Early '70s Fare: The House Without a Christmas Tree The Aristocats Napoleon and Samantha The Odd Couple: The Third Season

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Reviewed October 3, 2008.



Text copyright 2008 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1972-2006 United Feature Syndicate, Inc. and 2008 Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.