Disney’s Planes is a solid family film that kids and parents can both enjoy.
If you’re expecting the magic that was there with Disney’s Cars (2006), you’ll be disappointed. Planes is easy enough to sit through, yet it doesn’t have the heart of Cars.
Planes follows Dusty Crophopper, a crop duster plane that wants to be a race plane. Dusty practices with his good friend Chug, a simple-minded truck who is reminiscent of Cars’ Mater. Before we get a chance to explore Dusty and Chug’s friendship, Dusty wins a chance to compete in a race around the world.
Dusty convinces Skipper, an old war plane who lives in a nearby hangar, to help him train, then competes in the race. The film moves rather quickly away from the relationships between the characters to race events and acts of kindness by Dusty during the race. While this moves the film along at a good pace, it also prevents you from falling in love with any of the characters. In Cars, the relationship between Lightning McQueen and Mater was the heart of the film. Also, we loved Paul Newman as the wise, crotchety, heart-of-gold-beneath-his-steel Doc Hudson. Hudson and McQueen’s relationship also provided a great bedrock for the film.
Planes characters are not memorable in that same way. They’re competent characters and the movie never drags, but these characters are not ones you’ll want to see again and again (as is prone to happen when you have kids).
If you’re wondering why I keep comparing the movie to Cars, it’s because every trailer I saw prior to seeing the movie said, “From the makers of Cars.” Disney wants to tout it as a Cars, except with planes. But it’s not. Cars was a better film.
That said, this film is head and shoulders above some of the stuff aimed at kids (and believe me, I’ve seen some dreck because my kids wanted to go).
That’s it for me. Have a great weekend.