Disney’s Planes, out now on home video, is a slight of hand bit of filmmaking, hoping that viewers will be sucked in by visual recognition. The trick? Planes, the story of aspiring racing cropduster Dusty, jacks the distinctive humanoid mode of transportations style made famous by Pixar’s Cars. The let down? It’s not actually a Pixar film beyond the superficial details.

Dusty (Dane Cook) is like Star Trek parallel universe version of Lightning McQueen: where McQueen was a hotshot showboat who learned to be humble in a small pond, Dusty’s a lowly working-plane with big dreams who proves his worth in a round-the-world-race. There’s a truck buddy, an arrogant competitor and a cranky mentor with a murky past–none of whom have the vocal chops of the Cars crew. There’s even a flashy love interest. Yet, for all it’s borrowing and flipping, Planes, like most non-Pixar Disney films, lacks the intelligence and guts needed to make it more than okay.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have redeeming moments. The opening flight sequence is impressive and the aerials throughout the movie are thrilling, perhaps more so than the race sequences in the first Cars. One particular scene through the Himalayas is gasp-worthy. For children who suck in those moments, it’s a perfect film that works as a second-cousin relative of the Pixar world. For adults looking for something particularly fresh or touching, it may leave them grounded.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch39vLdQi1g]

amberAmber Kelly-Anderson is a Texas-based writer and literature professor harbouring a long-standing infatuation with film. Her lifelong missions are to Save Ferris and voice a Pixar character.

Read more of Amber’s posts.


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