Planes

Planes

2013, PG, 91 min. Directed by Klay Hall. Voices by Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Carlos Alazraqui, Brent Musburger.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Aug. 9, 2013

What a clunker. Though billed as coming from “the world of Cars” – that would be Pixar’s 2006 hit about talking race cars – this spin-off is a co-production of DisneyToon Studios and India’s Prana Animation Studios. (It was also reportedly first intended to go direct-to-DVD before reversing course for a theatrical release in the traditional dumping ground that is August.) None of that backstory would have mattered, of course, had Planes been a superior film, but it’s as low-flying as its crop-duster hero, Dusty Crophopper (vanilla-voiced by Dane Cook), who dreams of overcoming his humble origins and fear of heights to compete in an around-the-world aerial race.

A charmless, schematic, aspirational film, Planes scotches the visual promise teased in its globe-trotting premise; a pretty fly-by of the Taj Mahal is the only site on this world-geography sprint that stands out. And the script, by Jeffrey M. Howard (who previously penned a series of Tinker Bell movies for Disney), crudely draws the international assembly – a hot-blooded Mexican racer is trailed by mariachi players, while in India sacred cows have been replaced by tractors – and mistakes crassness for risk-taking. (If I were a parent, I would riot at the film’s chirpy reveal – SPOILER ALERT – that Old Yeller takes a bullet. By the way: Planes’ “spoiler alert” is a postscript, not a preface. Assholes.) The occasional amusing moment notwithstanding (a split-personality, German flying car got giggles for sheer bizarreness), Planes is a hunk of junk, its autopilot course set to buckets of money wrung from families looking for something like Lightning McQueen to strike again. No such luck.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Films
The Long Game
True-life story of Mexican-American teens who make a run at the 1957 state golf championship

Jessi Cape, April 12, 2024

Arcadian
Nicolas Cage is a single dad post-apocalype in Irish thriller

Richard Whittaker, April 12, 2024

More by Kimberley Jones
Deep Sky
Doc follows the mission to build the James Webb Space Telescope and showcases the stunning first images sent back to Earth

April 19, 2024

Earth Day, Record Store Day, and More Recommended Events
Earth Day, Record Store Day, and More Recommended Events
Go green in a number of ways this week

April 19, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Planes, Klay Hall

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle