Running Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
The new animated film Planes is set in the same world as the Disney/Pixar films Cars and Cars 2 and introduces us to Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a crop-dusting plane who dreams of racing. When he decides to try and qualify for the most prestigious air race in the world, the Wings Around the Globe Rally, he asks his friends to help him but it isn’t until a retired Air Force fighter jet named Skipper (Stacey Keach) comes aboard that Dusty learns that he is capable of more than he ever dreamed of.
It is very telling that even though this film is an offshoot of a Pixar idea, it wasn’t made by Pixar. The difference is very noticeable, because although the film has the same look, it doesn’t have the same level of storytelling, character development or overall quality of a Pixar film. I thought Brad Garrett’s easily excitable fuel truck Chug and CarlosAlazraqui’s masked Mexican racer El Chupacabra were the most enjoyable characters in the film and I got most of my laughs from them. The rest of the cast was oddly forgettable and the voice work didn’t do much to enhance and add personality to the animation.
My biggest gripe was the fact that the main character Dusty is so boring. I won’t lay this at Dane Cook’s feet because I thought his voice work was fine, but Dusty is a one-note dud who’s only issue is that he is afraid of heights. He doesn’t have any character flaws to overcome or lessons to learn about himself. He is always blandly noble and considerate and is never tempted to compromise himself in any way. This movie was an unremarkable entry into the Disney library. Planes would have been better served as either an animated short or a direct to DVD movie. C