Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Another underdog film.
You know, it’s really difficult to remain objective for a movie you’ve heard so many bad things about. Sure, the movie is littered with good intention, they say, but the road to Hell is also paved with “good intention”. Okay, that was a bit harsh. Planes isn’t as bad as people say, it’s just the most predictable, rehashed story told about a bazillion times before. I can appreciate some of the things taught in the movie, but again…it’s nothing that hasn’t been told before in numerous other kid flicks, and it isn’t told a different or more unique way, either. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk plot.
Dane Cook plays Dusty Crophopper, a “nifty” play on words, as he is a crop duster plane that wishes to one day race in the “Wings around the Globe” competition, which is a race for bigger and stronger planes. Other planes around him continually belittle and poke fun at his inferior style of flying, his small stature, and his “farming” job. He eventually tries out for the competition and gets in by a hair, and he’s off with the big dogs, with help of Vet plane, Skipper. This race, as you could expect, flies around the world. I wonder who wins…
This film, as you probably are aware, takes place in the world of Cars, but it’s not Pixar. Not only that, but it was barely even promoted in the slightest. They knew it wasn’t going to do good, but still. Cars was successful, so let’s just promote it with that single idea, right? Well, let’s just skip the fact that Cars 2 is considered one of Pixar’s worst films, and go straight on with Planes. The background to this film is just so sketchy. It makes you wonder why it was even made…I mean…no one was even asking for it…it’s not really necessary in the least bit…the messages told are the same rehashed things kid movies usually talk about as well.
The messages, if I can remember correctly, are as follows. Dusty has a fear of height, so the film focuses on facing your fears, it also focuses on being a good friend, keeping your head on straight, following your dreams, and ultimately not listening to the bad things other people say about you. All good, granted, but all stuff we’ve seen before in other flicks. Also, as I mentioned above, it wasn’t even presented differently or more unique. Several movies can have the same message, as long as they present it in a different way. In order to make it feel fresh, it needs to be fresh. Changing the atmosphere and setting isn’t changing the way you present a message.
An underdog movie is an underdog movie, and I feel like I just got done watching one. In fact I have, as I just finished watching Turbo not too long ago. Turbo is a lot like Planes, except those characters are written really well. I liked every single one of the characters in Turbo, even though I wasn’t a fan of the plot. I didn’t really like any characters in Planes, even Dusty, who was played by the biggest sarcastic and crude actor around, Dane Cook. Seriously, I was waiting for some kind of crude remark from Dane as he makes another plane crash. He is more fitting for the villainous plane, why didn’t he play that? The rest of the characters are pretty blah to me, and it felt like they threw in cars as well, because a movie with just planes wouldn’t work.
So the other part of this is…is it funny? I will admit I laughed in one part. I’ll say right now what happens in this scene. Dusty and the lady plane are watching tractors move by, and Dusty asks what’s with all the tractors, to which the lady says, “Many believe we will be recycled into tractors one day”. That line was smart. It’s slightly hinting and joking at reincarnation. I had to think “not bad” to myself. However, the rest of the movie was filled with junk and easy laughter for kids. Stuff like “Aww, that was my SkyPad”, “Relax, there’s a new one in two weeks”. Stuff of the nature. So if you want a funny movie, look elsewhere. 99% of the jokes here are stupid jokes only kids can laugh at.
How does it look? Pretty good, honestly…but what can you expect? It’s Disney and its CGI. Most of the focus on graphics was on the characters though, because I did notice failures in certain scenes pertaining to renderings in the background. Especially New York City. Those buildings were like…building blocks, nothing very advanced about their graphics – just a bunch of lazily rendered rectangular shapes with squares for windows…it wasn’t great, honestly. Also, the shading could have been better for a lot of the scenes, but other than that, the graphics look fine.
What about kids? Oh they’ll love it, but then again, kids will watch anything and everything and love it, especially if there is bright lights, colors, and physical humor – they are game. However, further down the road, when asked what they want to see while they eat their dinner, kids will say Toy Story, and Planes will be collecting dust until there’s nothing else to do or watch. It’s something to play in the background when they are bored and the house is too quiet.