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PLANESWhen Disney sent us a copy of their movie PLANES on Blu-ray, the whole family was excited since this was a situation where we’ve actually had many of the toys from Mattel for several months (I previously did a big feature on them here), but we hadn’t yet seen the movie (theater-going is a new thing for my oldest, and FROZEN will be her first big-screen Disney experience). Being big fans of Disney•Pixar’s CARS, seeing “The World above CARS” was something we’d been eagerly-awaiting since it was teased in the short film AIR MATER on the CARS 2 Blu-ray.

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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.

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planesreview2The 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.

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The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars

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