Dusty (Dane Cook) is a crop dusting plane who dreams of glory, so he enters a famous aerial race. The trouble is though, Dusty has never trained or raced professionally, so he is going to need all the help he can get.
While Planes is billed as being set ‘Above the world of Cars’, it is produced by Disney and not Pixar, even though the character design may have you believe the opposite. Being honest, it seems as though Planes was a movie that was made for the Disney Channel, but somehow ended up getting a cinema release; perhaps this is off the back of the phenomenal success of Cars and Disney hope that lightning will strike twice in terms of merchandise sales…
That said however, Planes is not a bad film. It’s not. What it is, however, is derivative and thin. The story is so similar to that of Cars it is genuinely surprising; character tries to get out of a small town, but needs the help of a gruff and mysterious old timer in order to do it. Familiar, right? As the film goes on, it becomes clear just how thin the story is, and it seems the pace was bumped up to compensate for this, leaving the film feeling rather rushed.
The cast is made up of Dane Cook, Val Kilmer and Teri Hatcher but none of the voice performances are particularly outstanding – with the exception of John Cleese as Bulldog, a British plane who runs into trouble. Some have more experience than others, but every actor does admirably, and their performances come off as warm and genuine.
Director Klay Hall worked on King of the Hill for many years, and has since turned his hand to the successful Disney Tinkerbell movies. Perhaps this is why he was brought in, to help some of the Tinkerbell magic rub off on a franchise for boys? Whatever the reason, Hall does fine, but he cannot make up for Jeffrey M. Howard’s unoriginal script.
Planes is not a film that adults and kids alike will love equally, what it is, however, is a film about a character believing in themselves and fighting for what they want to achieve. This is a great message for kids and, although anyone over the age of 8 years old may tire of Planes quickly, there is definitely an audience out there, even if the parents will not enjoy this as much as Cars, or any other Pixar movie.
In all, Planes is an inoffensive movie aimed at boys between 3 and 8 years old. While the film is unoriginal and rather thin, it does not try to be anything more than it is, and the littler men in the audience are sure to enjoy it.