Movie review: 'Planes' flies higher than expected

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"I just want to prove that I can be more than what I was built to be,"

-- Dusty, Disney's "Planes"

The spinoff of Pixar's "Cars" franchise definitely has a lot of similarities. In both stories, the main characters (Dusty in "Planes" and Lightning McQueen in "Cars") enter races and, of course, want to win. Along the way they learn there are more important things than winning. The villains (Ripslinger in "Planes" and Chick Hicks in "Cars") are green machines that are willing to do whatever it takes to win. The main characters' mentors (Spinner in "Planes" and Doc in "Cars") are blue-gray machines that have mysterious traumatic pasts but ultimately overcome the struggles to help the main characters. The comedic tractor cows from "Cars" also make appearances.


2.5 stars = Average
Ratings explained

  • Voices:

    Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Carlos Alazraqui and Roger Craig Smith.

  • Rating:

    PG for some mild action and rude humor.

The differences, however, are what make Disney's "Planes" worth watching. First and foremost, it is an underdog story following the antics of a plane that wants to be more than it was built to do, unlike cars where the main character is a superstar who learns the value of friendship. Also, Pixar had nothing to do with the making of "Planes."

The message "Planes" delivers is one that is shouted by the main character in the beginning of the movie. The story follows Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a small-town crop duster that dreams of being in an international plane race. The movie begins with Dusty daydreaming about racing two jets, only to come back to the reality that he is just dusting crops. He quickly decides to try out for a prestigious international race, placing sixth when he was supposed to place fifth in the preliminary round. Comforted by his friends, fuel truck Chug (Brad Garrett) and forklift Dottie (Teri Hatcher), the three head home with heads down but satisfied that Dusty proved a crop duster could race with the big dogs.

When a doping scandal disqualifies the fifth-spot holder, Dusty is bumped up to fifth place. Needing a teacher, Dusty looks to enlist the help of old Navy Corsair Skipper Riley (Stacy Keach). Reluctant at first because Dusty's "only a crop duster," the two bump heads until Dusty, through sheer determination, proves himself to Skipper. Intrigued by the amount of heart Dusty has, Skipper agrees to train him.

"Planes" is very entertaining for children, with the special effects and comedic antics of El Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui), and is also entertaining for adults. PG for some mild action and rude, adult humor (at a bar Dusty seems sad; a German bartender forklift approaches him and says, "You sad, you drink"), "Planes" is something everyone can enjoy. A bonus, the audience is given the chance to learn about planes and how they work.


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