Disney’s Planes is not as terrible as many critics (this critic admittedly included) had previously considered it to be. However, it is also not one of the year’s best. One has to take into account the comments made by co-writers Klay Hall and John Lasseter in the movie’s bonus material to fully appreciate what Planes actually offers audiences. Their comments play directly into the movie’s overall plot. The resultant effect is that Planes’ story comes across more as its own story and less of a rip-off of Pixar’s Cars. The end result is a movie with just enough heart to make it worth at least one watch.
Walt Disney Studios was lambasted by audiences and critics alike (this critic included) when the studio announced that it would be releasing a spinoff of Pixar’s hugely successful Cars franchise. The very fact that Disney would simply title the new spinoff Planes was to thank for that reaming of the studio. The instant reaction was to say that this movie was just Cars in the air. While it largely is that, the movie is also worthy of at least some defense. In its defense, the bonus features included in the movie’s new home release help it to earn at least a slight respect. Pixar head and Planes co-writer John Lasssetter discusses the movie in a sit-down interview. He explains in his interview that there had been a proposal to spin off Cars with a movie about trains. Yes, a movie about trains. All they would have needed were Steve Martin and someone to take the place of the late John Candy. Anyone that gets this reference should stand up and take a bow right now. Getting back on the subject, Lasseter explains wisely that a movie centered on planes instead of trains made more sense. He explains in his own wording that a movie on planes obviously gave more story options, which makes sense. That sentiment alone makes the movie more bearable.
Lasseter’s Planes co-writer Klay Hall is also interviewed in the movie’s bonus features. He explains in his bonus interview that the idea for a story centered on planes was largely thanks to his own late father being a Navy pilot. The result was a lifelong love for all things aerial. He explains in depth how his love for all things aerial led to the precise details used throughout the movie, too. He explains that he wanted to make the movie as factual as possible. And he did just that. Anyone that has ever watched the likes of the Red Bull Air Race World Series will appreciate the shots down the long axis of the planes during the qualifying sessions for the big round-the-world air race. They will also appreciate the technical jargon tossed about throughout the movie’s run time, which barely tops the ninety-minute mark.
The interviews with both Lasseter and Hall earn Planes a new respect that without which, it might not have earned. Also worthy of note is the plot behind this continuation of Pixar’s Cars franchise. The writing team of Lassetter, Hall, and Jeffery M. Howard have crafted in Planes, a standard underdog story complete with underlying romance subplot. This is not the first time that such a story has been done, just as Pixar’s Monsters University was hardly the first college based comedy ever crafted. In Planes’ defense though, it didn’t directly rip off either of the Cars movies. It actually does have its own story. To that extent, it develops even more its own identity. Add in the fact that comedian Dane Cook has proven that he can actually handle more mature—anyone that has seen Cook’s standup act understand how immature and boring he comes across as being—material, and Planes actually proves that it has not only its own identity, but also has heart. All of this being noted, Planes proves to be a movie that while hardly one of Disney’s best or even one of 2013’s best, is worth at least one watch with the family.
Planes is available now on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. It can be ordered online direct from the Disney online store at http://www.disneystore.com/planes-3d-blu-ray-2-disc-combo-pack/mp/1346514/1000316/?cmp=OTL-Dcom&att=Dcom_FS_Planes3DBluRay_Home_BuyMovie and http://www.disneystore.com/planes-dvd-digital-copy/mp/1346520/1000316/. More information on this and other releases from Walt Disney Studios is available online at http://www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios and http://www.waltdisneystudios.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.