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.
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.
The film's animation doesn't seem quite as well-polished and lively as it likely would have been if Pixar paid its usual contribution, but this effort still takes plenty of upstanding notes from the certain Disney animation team that we all know and respect so highly, offering enough delightfully bright colorfulness and adequate life to expressiveness to bring this world to life beautifully. The animations are not simply easily this film's biggest strength, but stand out, playing a big role in establishing a certain entertainment value, though not without the help of admittedly pretty colorful voice performances. The lazy filmmakers are certainly not asking for much out of this, at best, C-level cast, but where the performers could have also lazed out, like the overacting casts of other mediocre animated features, most everyone charms, with even Dane Cook having enough endearing genuineness to his vocal efforts to feel more like a relatively inspired lead than the Dusty Crophopper role itself does on paper. Yes, people, this effort does indeed feature the solid animation and voice talents that have made mighty very films of this type in the past, it's just that the script falls short, and even then, it's not like storytelling is a total misfire here. In regards to Jeffrey M. Howard's script, there are some genuinely thoughtful and amusing moments to break up flatness, and to go brought to life by highlights in Klay Hall's direction that offer inspired lively elements amidst generally lazily overblown storytelling. There's only so much effort being put into playing up a potential for fun in this ultimately trite piece of family filler, but make no mistake, there is, in fact, enough heart behind this mostly misguided effort for the final product to come closer to rewarding than some are saying. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that the film falls just short of decency, having its moments, but not enough to disregard missteps, if not the disregarding of certain elements that need more attention, including, at least to a certain extent, development.
Whether it be because of the characters' being familiar or simply because this is a mere fluff piece that was never to hold all that much, I am by no means asking for all that much in the way of flesh-out to characterization, but I should be able to at least place a little bit of investment in these characters, who, while well-animated and well-portrayed, ultimately feel like undercooked, coldly drawn types who aren't even organically juggled. Being uneven, this film's focus is bloated at times with excesses in obligatory-feeling material that storytelling jars through in a hurried fashion that, upon really kicking up, pumps momentum to the point of being exhausting. The film is sometimes annoying in its hurrying through noisy humor and a thin plot, plagued by limitations in the control on storytelling that are made all the more aggravating by some seriously cheesy writing. Again, Jeffrey M. Howard's script is sometimes effective in its humor, and even in its sweet sentimentality, but humor remains often trite and frantic, with a certain kiddy under-inspiration, while sentimentality gets to be cloying, at least when director Klay Hall bloats storytelling with manipulative plays on atmosphere. Inspiration in storytelling is there at times, but there is generally a distancing laziness that would be less frustrating if it wasn't particularly prominent within the uniqueness departments. Even in concept, this film's thin plot lazily offers nothing new, and when it comes to the story concept's execution, laziness drives the film not only into the aforementioned pacing inconsistencies and cheesiness, but into bombastic tropes within humor and plotting that leave the final product to eventually sputter out, not just as generic, but as all-out trite. Sure, the flaws are limited, and the strengths are pretty hard to deny, but at the end of the day, the missteps just barely outweigh the strengths, and go backed with enough of a sense of laziness for the final product to limp along as an ultimately inconsequential and merely mediocre misfire of a piece of animated Disney filler.
Overall (There are probably some plane puns for this closer lead-in, but I'm just "plane"-I mean, [u][b]"plain"[/b][/u] worn out on those kind of puns after this), strong animation and pretty good voice performances that join highlights in direction in bringing life to highlights in writing carry the final product to the brink of genuine decency, ultimately lost by the distancing underdevelopment, jarring unevenness, near-cloying cheesiness and near-aggravatingly trite genericisms that reflect a glaring laziness which sends Disney's "Planes" crashing into mediocrity as a sorely under-inspired animated affair.
2.25/5 - Mediocre
In this PG-rated animated adventure, cropdusting plane Dusty (Cook) competes in an air race and confronts his fear of heights with the support of his mentor Skipper (Keach) and friends (Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher).
Disney should've stuck to Planes' original intended release format: direct-to-video. Topped off with C-Grade zingers and Grade C caricatures, this Air Farce tries greasing the cast list with C-List stars. Together with some brilliantly detailed animation, these celebrity pipes end up to be the only frills worth the price of flight. Oftentimes predictable and silly, it falls so far from attaining a Pixar level of quality that adults and older kids will get bored.
Bottom line: Flop Gun.
The animation is ok. People can get confused thinking that Pixar made the film. I did like that the film does an homage to Top Gun. I love that they got Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards from Top Gun to do voice work here. There is another scene that reminded me of a scene from Pearl Harbor.
Overall, the actors providing the voices are ok, but none of them are spectacular.
Obviously, the animation isn't as polished as that of the Cars films. This effort also shares the visually-bland sameness in character designs that even those movies suffer from. Let's also not forget the cynical, purely merchandise-related decisions at work here in an even more obvious way than in Cars 2. I can't even go into the weird logic of this world populated by sentient, self-driving vehicles. All that aside, Planes does offer a few laughs and clever bits ensuring that its 90 minutes aren't outright torture for parents.
I think Dane Cook is another reason why it's criticized, but at no point did I think, "Hey, the main character is totally Dane Cook-ing right now." Ok, you don't like the guy in real life, but his voice doesn't take you out of the movie at all. Planes is fun for kids, harmless for everyone else, and I promise it is better than Cars 2.