When stuck on a plane, you’ll watch things that you’d probably never watch otherwise. “Planes” falls into that category for me.
Pixar has/had a reputation for producing really great movies – for instance, “The Incredibles” – but it seems with their acquisition by Disney that the giant mouse has killed their uniqueness. This movie, ostensibly in the “Cars” universe, has none of the things that made Pixar movies great and everything that makes Disney movies unexceptional.
The tale of a crop duster who wants to be a speed racing plane, the story is a largely uninspired remake of the “Little Engine That Could”. Featuring the voice ‘acting’ of Dane Cook as Dusty, Stacy Keach as his coach, the unmistakable Brad Garret as his friend, Terri Hatcher as his mechanic, and with other voice talents such as John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, and Sinbad, an all-star cast was not lacking. What was lacking was anything that didn’t fit the tried-and-true formula of bored pip-squeak who overcomes his fear and the hero-turned-let-down-turned-hero-again arc of his trusted mentor to win the race and become what he wants to become.
Kids might like this movie because it features talking airplanes and some fast-action sequences. Everyone else will find it predictable and boring – there aren’t even any good ‘cute’ scenes in this film. There’s a sub-story of a Mexican plane attempting to woo an Indian plane. These characters were obviously included in the story to widen the potential audience of the film. It’s not a bad thing to represent your audience as truly as possible, but the attempt here falls flat because the characters are obvious caricatures and so stereotypical as to be almost offensive. This underscores the real problem with this movie – with nothing except the formulaic and a characters that are pandering, an attempted appeal at all audiences falls flat by appealing to almost none.