It’s safe to say that Disney just gets it when it comes to making animated movies. With its colourful characters, slick graphics and witty script, Disney’s Planes is a heart-warming family flick which will have both adults and children giggling for different reasons.
Planes has a star-studded voice cast which features the likes of Dane Cook, Cedric the Entertainer, Terri Hatcher and John Cleese.
Dusty Crophopper (Cook) is a cropduster who is frustrated with flying over fields day-in, day-out. He dreams of entering the Wings Around the World flying competition to prove that he can do more than just dust crops. But one thing holds him back – his fear of heights. Yes, a little inconvenient for a plane. But with help from his friends (a tech-savvy forklift voiced by Terri Hatcher and a dopey truck played by Brad Garrett), plus expert training from Skipper – a reclusive old Navy Corsair – Dusty enters the race to show off his skills and make his dream come true. Soon, the sky’s the limit!
Planes is a spin-off from Pixar‘s Cars and Cars 2. The animation – directed by Klay Hall – subtly references the Cars world down below, which as a Disney -fanatic I found was a nice touch. In Cars, tractors are personified as dopey cows; they have big eyes, their wing mirrors droop down like ears, and all the cars take much pleasure in ‘Tractor-Tipping’. In Planes, Dusty briefly zooms over a field of tractors and startles them. Anyone who has seen Cars will know exactly what happens when you startle a tractor…
Disney has the amazing ability to create films which both adults and children can enjoy on different levels and Planes is no different. In fact, Planes seems to have more jokes aimed at adults than it does children. The script – penned by Jeffrey M. Howard – is scattered with hilarious innuendos and references which an older audience can appreciate. It was hard to resist laughing in Cars at the mention of a character’s ‘undercarriage’ and in Planes, Chug the gas truck provides similar one-liners. You can’t help but titter at Chug when he opens the film announcing his new tag line for his fuel: ‘Crops: it’ll give you gas’. Another laugh out loud moment includes “Who you calling leaky? I’ll leak on you if you don’t check your end date!” and “Phwoar, look at her propeller!”
When it comes to the voice cast, John Cleese flies the flag for the UK, He absolutely nails the character of a stuffy, uptight British plane called Bulldog by bringing a heap of hilarious sarcasm to the film as well as typical British phrases like “Tally-ho”. Even when Bulldog is seen crying he snaps “I’m not crying. I’m British!”
Any Disney fan knows, John Ratzenberger has had a voice part in all of Pixar’s feature films made to date. Eagerly waiting to hear the voice I commonly associate with Ham from Toy Story and Gusto from Ratatouille, Ratzenbuerger makes his cameo in Planes as Harland, a small truck. His role is short and sweet, but the film wouldn’t be complete without him.
It’s hard to believe that the stunning scenery in Planes is merely the clever work of slick graphics. The film marries gorgeous global backdrops with amazing graphic effects to create a very realistic looking world. The fluffy cloud-filled sky and the rich orangey purple sunset over the Taj Mahal look so real that you could easily believe it’s come from high-quality film stock.
However, perhaps the effects are to compensate for the predictable underdog storyline which is even mocked in the film by two of the characters.
Despite the predictable plot, Planes is an entertaining, heart-warming film which adults and children can both enjoy. Planes has a lot of heart and a message we can all take away: if you put your heart and mind to something, the sky’s the limit.
Planes zooms into cinemas August 16.
To celebrate the release of Planes, an aeroplane-themed British record was set. Eight thousand festival-goers at Camp Bestival in Dorset launched paper planes into the sky at exactly the same time. You can watch the record-breaking moment here: