Directed by: Klay Hall
Cast: (Voices of) Dane Cook, Brad Garrett, Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins
Release Date: August 9, 2013
PLOT: A cropdusting plane afraid of heights named Dusty (Cook) dreams of competing in a world wide race.
WHO’S IT FOR? Kids, and unlucky parents who can giggle at vasectomy references in their child’s movie.
Giving mouths to modes of transportation is probably not the most creative gesture in the animation playbook, even in the scope of a creative force (like Planes’ biological mother, Pixar) who in particular base their plots around talking toys, bugs, etc. The inanity of transit with teeth is on display again with Planes, an animated movie that was originally doomed to premiere at its more proper, exclusive location of the home theater before being salvaged for an inevitable bazillion dollars in multiplexes.
Answering to any type of hesitation that such a spin-off even exists, at least Planes has a direct plot. Instead of hot air segments that inevitably lead up to The Big Race, we see can-do plane Dusty find his way into the movie’s main event in the first twenty minutes of the movie or so, with the lead event playing out for another hour in clumps.
Granted, the chapters within this framed event sorely lack creativity, or a bit of surprise. This is one animated movie, among many others, that treat kids as vessels to learn plot cliches, instead of trying to respect them as individuals that will question the many dumb or disappointing things to be found in this unnecessary movie.
Owing to cheap writing and encouraging a shallow view of the world, Planes uses its rather efficient concept of a single worldwide race by turning it into a tour of stereotypes. German citizens are shown with polka music and beer, complete with a forklift bartender providing the intentional young audience with sound advice – “You sad? You drink!” Of course, the Spanish character in the mix wears a mask like a wrestler, and is such a schmaltzy sweetheart that he has even appeared in telenovela.
All of this is rather ironic, or idiotic, especially considering how this movie is based on its main protagonist overcoming the labels and expectations that are put upon him. Dusty is the only person I mean plane who seems to prevail against judgment, but because he has the protection of being an important character. The rest of the heavily characteristically categorized aircraft of this movie are simple pawns to preach a hypocritical message.
Considering the now even pricier way to see Planes, the 3D is not necessary, but the animation is surely incredible with its detail. Numerous locations are crafted with depth, with Planes getting in more than a few beautiful wide shots of its created territory. Various point of view shots prove useful in attempting to get the audience involved with the film, despite the blandness of the story stating otherwise.
Planes, very much like Turbo before it in plot but also general mentality, celebrates the notion that while animators must consistently work even harder to match the high standards, the storytellers don’t have to change a thing. Animators – the forklifts of “The World of Cars.”
FINAL SCORE: 3/10