Planes – 2013

Director Klay Hall
Starring Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Priyanka Chopra, Brad Garrett, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roger Craig Smith, John Cleese, Carlos Alazraqui, John Ratzenberger
Screenplay Jeffrey M. Howard

So Dusty Crophopper wants to be the fastest slug in the – er, wait.  That’s a different movie.  Not that much different, though.  Dane Cook gives us as generic performance as his comedy routine as the protagonist in a movie that plays in the air, but still seems like forced fun.  If you liked Cars, you’d probably like this one, even if the story is different enough from that one.  What can it say about the script that Pixar would choose to do Cars 2, but leave this one for Disney to release straight to video.  Somewhere along the line, this one got a boost.  It’s better than Turbo by a long shot, and the script is way better than the fertilizer of Cars 2.

This doesn’t come close to making it a great or even a really good film.  It is cute, though, and earnest enough.  Dusty has none of the character flaws that gave us some reason for Doc Hudson to be irritated with Lightning McQueen.  When Stacy Keach’s Skipper Riley starts grouching at him, we have no feeling of agreement.  Just a feeling of an unnecessary deja-vu.

There’s no amount of self-discovery for our hero.  He decides he’s going to race, wins a spot in the big race after a disqualification, and heads out to traverse the world.  He meets a bunch of planes with different accents, hears a few cameo voices here and there and flies from stop to stop, facing obstacles at each leg.  There’s a bad guy voiced by Smith, who has done cartoons and video games in the past.  This won’t push him to the top of the list for the next Pixar film, but it ain’t bad.

The animation is somewhere between Bolt and Hotel Transylvania.  The vistas are enjoyable, if brief, like a plane flying by at low altitude…wait.

Planes was a moderate success, and they already have adds for the second of a planned trilogy in front of the rental.  Not being genetically hard-wired to see animated features about characters with gas engines, I won’t be watching any of the films in the theater.  The second has the title Fire & Rescue.  That should be a noble pursuit. Hopefully it’s a little more interesting.

(*** out of *****)

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