Produced by DisneyToon Studios and outside of the Pixar umbrella with an original plan of a direct-to-DVD release, the reaction to PLANES by critics and some online friends was really mixed upon it's theatrical run this summer. After watching it twice with the girls, I tend to think that a lot of people will unfairly harsh on it, for the simple reason that it's not a Pixar film, despite being a spin-off of something that they created.
The animation is sharp, the sound design bold, and the film itself the pretty entertaining tale of Dusty Crophopper - a cropduster that aspires to be a lot more. In terms of story, there's a lot borrowed from the previous CARS films with Stacy Keach's Skipper recalling Paul Newman's Doc Hudson, and the entire Wings Around the Globe race feeling a lot like the World Grand Prix from CARS 2. For the film purists, those elements are likely points of contention, and very much in line with the familiar approach that a lot of direct-to-dvd titles tend to have. But it's not a bad thing here, as I look at things from a parental perspective these days: It's a story about friendship, being good to others and oneself, and the kids love it, and that's what really counts. And I dig it, too. So much that I'm already looking forward to next year's PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE, and my kids don't understand the concept of a "sequel" yet.
The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disney's PLANES is available from my affiliates: