Reviewed by Jessica Grant
Today, Disney will release its much hyped (non)sequel to their Cars franchise, Planes. Planes is animated and played out in a very similar way to the Cars movies, but lacks much comparatively in the way of character development, explanation and depth; and that’s not a bad thing! While Cars (especially Cars 2) lost not only my children’s attention, but my own, within the first few minutes, Planes gets the dilemma of the kid-friendly/parent-friendly film right — they get to the point rather quickly and keep their characters and the plot short, sweet and simple; there’s no need to worry about explaining complex situations or sequences of events to your confused kids, all while whispering to avoid annoying your theater neighbors.
Planes, at its simplest, is the tale of an around-the-world race between airplanes. However, the main character, Dusty Crophopper, a crop duster, is not built for racing unlike all of his competitors who are all jets and otherwise well-equipped planes. Not only is Dusty at an aerodynamic disadvantage, but he also lacks confidence and is — believe it or not — afraid of heights. Dusty has to confront and conquer those setbacks head on, but must also rise above some sneaky cheaters, and even deception at the hands of his most trusted advisers.
There are many great lessons taught, but not forced on, the audience throughout its 92 minute running time — including skills prevailing over speed, that cheaters never really win, and that being kind to others can reward you in ways you’d never expect.
Planes is an easy, enjoyable film that your kids will love and parents will appreciate. Don’t expect any Oscar-wins with this one, but do expect happy children and big smiles.