Review: “Planes” is an extended kiddie cartoon

August 16th, 2013 at 5:21 pm by under Entertainment
"Planes" poster courtesy Disney

“Planes” poster courtesy Disney

“Planes” (2013)
Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor
Runtime: 1 hours, 32 minutes
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy/Family

My spoiler-free review:

Lacking the heart, charm, and memorable characters of a traditional Disney-branded animated movie, “Planes” only has enough gas for little kids.  There’s a reason why all the promos and posters refer to the movie “Cars” – because they want to capitalize on that audience.  Once people see it, the word of mouth will be “blah” or meh”…. I give it 5.0 out of 10.  (The PG is for some harrowing action and rude humor that will go over the head of most kids.)

“Dusty” (voiced by Dane Cook) is our main character, dreaming of being more than just a crop duster… he wants to be a fighter jet or race around the world.  Okay kids can relate to wanting to aspire to something cool… but he’s dangerous while daydreaming and doesn’t listen to the grown up planes, which makes him a rebel, not a role model for kids.  So we spend the first third of the movie meeting the different characters in the movie before we get to the… (not a spoiler if you’ve seen any of the trailers or promos, or the poster to the left) … race.

But the characters we meet are not overly interesting or relatable, or memorable, including “Dusty”.  The only sparkles of light on this voice cast are Brad Garrett (as the tanker truck “Chug”- Dusty’s best friend), John Cleese (the voice of the British racer plane ” Bulldog”), and Carlos Alazraqui (as “El Chupacabra”, the Nacho Libre style Mexican racer plane).

Unfortunately the movie plays up the stereotypes of the planes from different countries… why does the Mexican plane have to wear a 80s wrestling mask like Nacho Libre?  The British plane have to been all stodgy and proper?  The Indian plane… and so on, you get it… they could have called the movie “Flying Stereotypes”.  Plus the broadcast team of a older sports car “Brent Mustangburger” (Brent Musburger) and “Colin Cowling” (Colin Cowherd) the blimp that’s full of hot air – okay so they got one right.  :)

Also the storyline is so incredibly predictable and cheesy that any child who can put together a basic set of Legos on their own can figure out how the plot of this one is going to end.

Plus its doesn’t have the edge or wit of some of the great animated movies we’ve seen in the last 20 years… this is one that will get plenty of play on a certain cable channel when the time comes, but that’s okay because this movie feels like an extended made-for-tv cartoon.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers):


Voices of: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Carlos Alazraqui, Roger Craig Smith, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Sinbad, Gabriel Iglesias, Brent Musburger

Director: Klay Hall (Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, King of the Hill, animated TV shows)

The Plot: Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.

So what did you think?  Please post a comment!

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