They’re flying into the Kiddie Zone.

Theatrical Release Date: 08/09/2013
Director: Klay Hall
Featuring the Voices of: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Carlos Alazraqui, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer
Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor.
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes


Nice Moustache.

Planes is the story of the little crop-duster that could. Dane Cook voices Dusty Crophopper, a little bitty plane with big ol’ dreams from the little agricultural town of Propwash Junction. He’s a great little flyer who has racked up over 1,000 flight miles, albeit across the same cornfields over and over again. He wants to be “more than what he was built for” and, with the support of his hometown support team, Chug (a fuel truck, voiced by Brad Garret) and Dottie (a forklift and his chief mechanic, voiced by Teri Hatcher), he trains to enter an around-the-world race.

Dusty even enlists a mentor, Skipper – a retired war plane who’s been grounded since he flew in World War II (Stacy Keach). There are a few little obstacles to overcome, namely that he can’t fly very fast and he’s afraid of heights, which stands to reason, being a crop-duster and all. He really has no chance of winning against a jet in a competition.

But this is Planes! Of course he makes it! Yay for Dusty!! Now he gets to see the world and meet lots of new stereotypes friends from different nations, some of them friendly, like Mexican plane El Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui), a short plane with a spicy ego, and Ishani, a lovely Indian champion. And there are some mean planes, like three-time champ Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) and his little henchmenplanes who mock Dusty’s small town roots. Adventures ensue as they race around the globe from New York City and back again.

Actually, the stereotypes aren’t too egregious; this is a kid’s movie after all. There are a few instances of name calling and a couple of (relatively) intense moments (that means they weren’t intense at all if you’re over the age of 7), but it’s all very, very family friendly. And if you take that with a grain of salt and expect nothing more than that, then Planes is a perfectly agreeable little film. If you’re hoping for something in the vein of the Pixar classics, you’re going to be disappointed.

I never got around to seeing Cars or Cars 2 (Electric Boogaloo), but I know the kiddos love those crazy cars and the adults think they’re the bottom of the Pixar barrel. Planes is probably better than the second movie, but not as good as Cars (I have absolutely no basis for that statement at all, but I’d still bet money on it). It’s worth remembering that, even though Planes is set in the world of Cars, it isn’t a Pixar movie – it’s a Disney movie. To be more accurate, it’s a DisneyToon movie. That’s the studio that releases all the straight-to-DVD films, like the sequels to the Disney classics that come out decades after the originals and the riffs off of classic franchises, like Winnie the Pooh and Tinkerbell.

Planes probably should have been a straight-to-DVD movie; I probably would have enjoyed watching it my pajamas on a Saturday night with my bonus-daughter. Planes could have been more clever and more poignant, but it isn’t particularly either of those things. But it was cute. It could have been helped by more Top Gun references. Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards make brief cameos as fighter planes, which was a nice touch, and the soundtrack is reminiscent of “Danger Zone” to the point where I was disappointed that it isn’t included over the credits or something.

And, shockingly, I wasn’t disappointed with the 3-D, which I usually hate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the planes are flying straight at the audience like Captain E-O, but it added a little depth to the scenery and didn’t give me a headache, which is more than enough to get my stamp of 3-D approval. All in all, Planes was cute, but unless you’re taking a kid to a matinee, skip it. And if you are taking a kid, then splurge and see it in 3-D.

3 out of 53D Yes