Planes (3D) (U)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/08/2013

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

Disappointing animated adventure that suffers from a weak script, bland characterisation and a frustrating, poorly-defined universe.

What's it all about?
Directed by Klay Hall, Planes is set in the same world as Pixar's Cars, though it's actually a Disney film. The plot centres on crop-dusting plane Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), who dreams of entering the Wings Around The Globe competition. However, he has a crippling fear of heights, so he convinces veteran bomber Skipper (Stacey Keach) to help him train, aided by his loyal pit crew Dottie the forklift (Teri Hatcher) and Chug the fuel truck (Brad Garrett).

Unfortunately, Dusty's problems are only just beginning and when he unexpectedly qualifies for the competition, he finds himself in a fierce rivalry with unscrupulous world champion Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) and has to earn the respect of fellow international racing planes Bulldog (John Cleese), Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui), Rochelle (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Ishani (Priyanka Chopra).

The Good
To be fair, the flying sequences are beautifully animated throughout and director Hall makes strong use of some impressive point-of-view 3D work. In addition, the backgrounds are nicely detailed and the animation is lively and colourful enough to appeal to its target audience of very small children.

The Bad
Sadly, the shallow script is almost painfully simplistic and lacks both a strong story and decent dialogue, while the supposedly emotional moments fail to ring true. On top of that, the characters are extremely bland (the international racers are borderline insulting stereotypes) and the voicework is flat and uninspired, even from reliable comedy performers like Cleese and Louis Dreyfuss.

However, the film's biggest problem, as with Cars and Cars 2 before it, is a frustrating, poorly defined universe that raises too many questions, such as, in a world clearly built by humans, where are all the humans? (Who exactly is Dusty dusting crops for in the first place?) This fact doesn't seem to bother the filmmakers in the slightest, but they add insult to injury with the inclusion of some utterly infuriating product placement – the joke of calling an iPad a “SkyPad” doesn't really explain what possible use a plane would have for an iPad, for example.

Worth seeing?
Planes is just about watchable if you're a very small child, but discerning adults are likely to be disappointed thanks to a lazy script, poor performances, a general lack of laughs and a frustrating, ill-defined setting.

Film Trailer

Planes (3D) (U)
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Content updated: 20/09/2018 05:16

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