Critic Consensus: Planes has enough bright colors, goofy voices, and slick animation to distract some young viewers for 92 minutes -- and probably sell plenty of toys in the bargain -- but on nearly every other level, it's a Disney disappointment.
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Critic Reviews for Planes
...rarely manages to achieve the heights achieved even by 2006's entertaining yet lackluster Cars...
It's a shame that Disney and Pixar aren't in the 'classic-making' business anymore; just the 'distraction-making' business.
While kids might respond to the fast-paced airborne antics, the humor isn't clever enough or the story surprising enough to satisfy accompanying grown-ups.
It lacks the passion and depth of their earlier work, replacing meaningful storylines and deeply-felt emotions with clichés and maudlin moral lessons.
Audience Reviews for Planes
It may just seem like a "Cars" rip-off, and it certainly is, but at least they acknowledge that and say in the titles that it is from the world of cars. Also, having the story thought of by John Lasseter is a huge plus, so he must have had some faith in this project. "Planes" does not come anywhere near close to Pixar's legacy, nor does it even touch the original "Cars" film, but "Planes" is a very fine animated kid's flick that may not be remember to anyone as a huge success, but for what it is (and as clichéd as it may be) I enjoyed it. Did I hate how predictable it was, of course, but I didn't let that take away from the film's nice animation and cool racing scenes. Going into this film I honestly thought I was going to hate it, so I think that is why I give it some credit. You'll either like it or you'll hate it, and this time, the latter is not quite for me.
From above the world of Cars.
Very good animated movie! It's a Disney movie, it has happy endings and it gives kids great motivational dreams. A spin-off from Pixar's Cars, the movie gave some good comic relief with their stereotyped personality and the colorful images seem to be able to calm the hell of screaming children. I always like motivational movies, and in this case, Planes teaches kids how they should always try to overcome their fear. What's more important is the breaking of hereditary roles and defining who you want to be, away from what society thinks you should be. You don't need to be a fantastic race-plane to win the race. As long as you are willing to work hard, the sky is the limit! Recommended for all ages, yes including adults, you will enjoy it too!
Dusty Crophopper is a little cropduster plane with a fear of heights and a crazy dream of being a racer. While his friends need convincing, Dusty gets the training he needs from Skipper, a veteran fighter, and qualifies for the Wings Across the World race. In the event, Dusty finds competitors who soon learn that there is something special about this underdog as he is tested to his physical and emotional limits. In doing so, Dusty soon finds enemies, and more importantly friends, who are inspired by his dream. In the face of all obstacles, the winner of this air race will be anyone's guess.
So I think its safe to say we all know what this film is about and what its based on right?. Should I also be surprised that the entire thing is a bit of a cliched rehash of every animated film ever made?...sort of. Its quite clear this film is a direct spin off from the 'Cars' movies, its no secret obviously just by looking at the poster. Problem is its not been created by Pixar but by DisneyToon Studios, its all still under the same roof, written/produced by Lasseter, but its clear to see the quality just isn't here.
The film was meant for a straight to DVD release and boy can you tell. First thing that does hit you is the fact the visuals just aren't the high quality you'd expect. They look nice sure but blatantly low in standards compared to other Pixar work, it just looks like a cheap DVD release all the way. Those spin off adventures that big mainstream characters have but no one ever hears about them because they disappear straight into the shops, made purely to capitalise on the original cinematic hit.
So the visuals look basic and too simple, although they are planes, only so much you can do with them I guess. The actual animation is fine but overall it all looks dated, about ten years old. Next up is the plot...oh my the plot, you know those overused underdog tales where the plucky young hero braves his fears and eventually, after some wise tutoring from a mentor, overcomes the odds and wins something, usually a tournament or whatever. Yep well that is the plot right here all over again, predictable, hokey and corny to the max.
Character wise its the same story I'm afraid, you can guess right now exactly what the characters might be...and you'd be right, yes it is that predictable. One plucky young hero...check, one gruff wise old mentor...check, one soft female love interest...check, one goofy amusing sidekick...check, one dastardly plotting baddie...check, two clueless amusing baddie sidekicks...check and plenty of stereotypical multiracial characters that could border on being offensive to certain folk...big fat check.
Next to that is the fact all the characters just look boring, real boring!. There is nothing exciting going on with any of them, all the background characters look the same, lots of little cookiecutter forklift characters whizzing around. The planes are a standard mix of light aircraft, old war planes, racing planes etc...all propeller planes I might add. The only neat little touch was using Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer as two Super Hornet jet fighters in a cool little 'Top Gun' homage. That was literately the best thing the film had to offer.
I'm still amazed they didn't include any of the 'Cars' characters or have any tie in's anywhere (unless I missed it). Surely that would be a must?! screaming out for that I would of thought, strange.
The other thing that bothered me about this was the fact it just doesn't work. There are no humans in this world, this universe seems to be a fully living mechanical one with no mammals whatsoever. Now I know its a kids film and I shouldn't delve too deep but I kept asking myself things like...why on earth would they need buildings, tables, glasses and various other regular items humans use. Why would the airport need an actual airport building? why would their be airliners if there are no people to carry?. Thing is if that airliner is suppose to carry other plane 'people' or cars etc...surely it would have to be HUGE! surely all buildings would have to be huge to fit all these vehicles within them.
I know its picky but the more I thought about it the more it just makes no sense at all. Why would the main character, who is a cropduster, need to dust crops?? do these mechanical things eat crops? human food, surely not?. And why would the crops need that kind of protection anyway seeing as there aren't any organic creatures in this world to eat them, or so it seems. Every vehicle in the film is a living mechanical object, even the big aircraft carrier is alive! but how would that work? my god his existence must be deathly dull haha. The whole film felt more like one of those tacky old kids cartoons/animated shows where all the vehicles were living 'Thomas the Tank Engine' or 'Jimbo and the Jet Set'.
The main problem is the lack of humans, without them it makes this world completely unworkable, you need humans to give these vehicles a real purpose and believability. The 'Cars' films weren't too bad because cars aren't as big as planes obviously plus I don't think everything was alive in those films, could be wrong. Like what the hell do these vehicles do all day besides race? and who or what creates them? the characters even chat about birth at one point, how would that come to be exactly?. I know its not important but it just seems so stupid to me when I was watching it, as if nothing has really been thought through, its a kids flick so it doesn't matter.
That aside the film is reasonably enjoyable in places but it really is lacking in imagination badly. It literately feels like they just took the foundations of the 'Cars' movie, stripped it of cars and slapped a planes shell over the top and churned it out with a few minor alterations. Is there a better word I can use other than predictable? this word doesn't feel grand enough to describe just how much of a rehash this film is, fast food flick making of epic proportions folks.
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