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Disney's Planes - Review


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

HAVING conquered the [animated] roads with Cars, Disney now takes to the skies with Planes – and the results are predictably average.

Admittedly, Cars was a Pixar franchise, while Planes belongs to Disney. But they are part of the same universe and, most notably, are overseen by John Lasseter. He doesn’t direct though, leaving that honour to Klay Hall, a lifelong flying enthusiast who has seen a dream come true here.

And to be fair, the film does boast some great visuals that successfully capture the exhilaration of flight, while providing vivid backdrops for viewers to take in. Indeed, you can’t fault the film’s attention to deal as typically meticulous research has been done (both Hall and producer Traci Balthazor even got to visit a real US Navy aircraft carrier as part of their research), as is the norm for Lasseter projects nowadays.

It’s just a shame that more attention hasn’t been paid to the script, which is content to employ a tried (or tired) and tested formula.

Hence, we follow ambitious crop duster Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) as he dreams of competing in a round the world race much to the scepticism of some of his colleagues. When he does get his shot, however, Dusty is pitted against the likes of Bulldog, a British plane voiced by John Cleese, Ishani, an Indian plane voiced by Priyanka Chopra, and the ruthless long-time winner Ripslinger, voiced by Roger Craig Smith.

Audiences of most ages will be able to predict what happens, whether it’s the obvious messages about never giving up on your dreams or respect over discrimination, while even the plot beats involving friendship and triumph against the odds are formulaic.

Younger viewers who have already been sold by Cars and its ensuing merchandise won’t mind a jot though, as Planes is clearly aimed at them as well as landing another franchise with obvious crossover potential.

But that only makes it feel more cynical and shouldn’t divert attention from the feeling that this is trading on the familiar and ought to have been a lot better.

Certificate: U
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: August 16, 2013