Sep 182013

Disney revisits the Cars world, but this time the stars are the planes. Dusty Crophopper is a cropduster with big dreams. He wants to compete in a round-the-world race and explore the skies beyond the fields. The problem? Apart from being a cropduster (and not a racer), Dusty has a crippling fear of heights. My review of Planes is after the jump.

Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) wishes he could fly. Well of course he can fly he’s a plane, but he wishes he could really fly. Dusty wants to soar, to zip and zap through the sky at lightning speeds. His ultimate dream? To enter the round-the-world race and compete against the best racing planes in the world. With the help of his automotive and aviation friends and a whole lot of practice, Dusty manages to gain a place in the epic race. Dusty may have made it into the race, but how can he compete against the real speed machines? He also has the small problem of his fear of heights to overcome. There’s only so long he’ll be able to keep that issue under the radar.

Planes proves that Disney still has some of the best animators and artists in the business. From the beautiful, scenic locations around the world, to the past-paced action, the animation in Planes is stunning. Throughout the film I often found myself admiring the details and beauty in the scenes. In particular the mountains, with the delicate detailing (such as rocks and snow) and the lush vegetation, were impressive; as were the vivid colours of the Shanghai skyline. While the opening action scene felt like it was lifted right out of Top Gun, it, and many of the other race scenes, were very fun to watch.

Unfortunately the same praise can’t be given to the story. While perfectly adequate for a children’s movie, it lacks the imagination and originality of Disney films gone by. To put it simply, Planes is Cars, but with planes. The company clearly decided that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and have given us a story filled with the same types of characters and similar story. Again an underdog must overcome a great obstacle (and other characters) to achieve their dream. As a result of the film’s predictability, it does lag at times, and I found myself longing for the inevitable Disney happy ending.

If you’re looking for a completely accessible film that has no scary parts that could frighten the smallest of cinema-goers, then you can’t go wrong with Planes. You (the adult) may find the film a tad on the dull site, but the small people are likely to find it rather fun.


By Sam McCosh


The Facts

Director: Klay Hall
Screenplay: Jeffrey M. Howard
Starring (voices of): Carlos Alazraqui, Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher
Runtime: 91 minutes
Release date(s): USA: August 9 2013; Australia: September 19 2013; New Zealand: September 26 2013