Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Planes

Release date: August 9, 2013
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher
Who to see it with: A fan of Cars


Planes is a new movie set in the Cars universe. It takes place in the same world (although there is no crossover between the characters from Cars), features machines with big eyes that can talk, and even features a main character who's best friend is a dopey support car. Dusty Crophopper (Cook) is a crop duster plane that dreams of competing in a race around the world. The plot is pretty standard for a children's movie (it's remarkably similar to the recently released Turbo), where a protagonist tries to rise above what is expected of them. As a crop duster, Crophopper gets a lot of grief entering the race, and must rise to the challenges that the race presents. The international competition predominates the movie; because of this, the pacing of the film feels off. The story quickly progresses to the race, leaving a lot of the character development to occur during the actual event. It feels like it initially moves too quickly and it would have been nice to lay a little more groundwork or have more buildup for the big event. 

The race is set around the world, so there is a definite international flavor to the settings. However, this causes many of the main places to be stereotypical locales for those countries with cliched characters. It feels weird to be teaching kids these types of stereotypes, but none of them come off as in poor taste. The animation of the movie is beautiful with some wonderful clouds and gorgeous settings. The international race allows many different areas to be highlighted, and they're all animated magnificently (except for a strangely empty looking NYC). The planes themselves are also imaginative, with many different types and models being shown. And the voice acting is good, aside from the previously mentioned stereotypes. In the end, Planes is a cute movie, but it unfortunately feels like a movie I've already seen before. The plot follows a similar path to Cars, with a big race looming on the horizon, and a lot of the situations and dilemmas feel like they've been done in any number of other kids' movies. These predicaments aren't deep enough to be compelling to adults but are also a little too deep for kids to get. It's a pleasant animated movie, but it is most likely a rental.

Rent it.

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