First came the automobiles, now the planes, no doubt trains will be served up next. From the same universe as Pixar’s anthropomorphised “Cars”, this time Disney takes us on a ride in the skies instead of the ground when a crop-dusting plane with a fear of heights called Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) lives his dream of competing in a famous around-the-world aerial race.
Originally intended as a straight to DVD release to fill in the gaps between “Cars” sequels, the film was redirected to the cinemas when executives saw a rough cut and were impressed with the results, incidentally the same thing that happened to “Toy Story 2”. Sadly the “Cars” franchise does not match “Toy Story” in quality, but this film is a fine filler for parents looking to entertain kids for an hour and a half.
Sticking to the admirable yet well-trodden theme of ‘don’t let people stop you from chasing your dreams just because you’re not the biggest/strongest/best’, Dusty as a small crop-duster from small town USA is a far cry from the international racing planes he must compete against. Surrounded by his own rag tag that Mater (from “Cars”) would be proud of the film wastes no time setting up Dusty’s home town before he’s off and away. While there are certainly no dead spots in this full throttle pace, things like character development are left to a bare minimum, and the humour is unfortunately sparse, even for children.
Where the film really shines is the animation which is at time breathtaking and no doubt part of the reason it got bumped up to theatrical release. But this is what Disney does best, and given the film’s profitable box office to date, and like “Cars” before it, the great potential for merchandising sales, no doubt more “Planes” sequels have already been cleared for take-off.
For Disney enthusiasts this wouldn’t make the collectors shelf, and while pleasant enough, one for the kids only.