There’s no doubt that Disney is a marketing juggernaut. It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without Mickey Mouse and his friends. That being said, not every Disney movie is a huge box office hit. Disney capitalizes on successful films by making follow-on films as direct-to-disc movies. It’s hard to know the criteria that is used to determine if a film should be direct-to-disc, but you typically know one when you see one. Whatever the case may be, Disney has all corners of the market covered. The latest entry in the Disney collection, Planes, almost went direct-to-disc as well. With that in mind, how will Planes fair with moviegoers? Keep reading to find out.
Planes begins with a crop duster plane named Dusty Crophopper, who has big dreams of becoming an air racer. His one big problem is that he is afraid of heights. The start of the movie feels a bit like an extension of the Cars franchise, or even a spin-off. To be fair, the movie starts off by saying, “From Above the World of Cars”. Now that we have that out of the way, we can continue. The movie does suffer from that direct-to-disc feeling for the first part of the movie, but then it seems to find its own voice after a while. By in large though, the storyline feels too familiar and the characters feel very much like they were taken right out of a Cars movie.
Planes is by no means the best installment in the Disney arsenal of films. But, the movie is great for children and they will undoubtedly enjoy the film. There are quite a few jokes spread throughout the film that will keep adults amused as well. The kids won’t get the jokes, but they won’t care. The adults will laugh because the movie is actually quite funny. There are quite a few well-known actors who really brought these characters to life and made them feel very real. Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck) voiced the main character, Dusty Crophopper. Other big names, who lent their talent to the film, were Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), John Cleese (A Fish Called Wanda), Anthony Edwards (ER) and Val Kilmer (Top Gun).
There were other recognizable voices providing the majority of the laughs. Those came from Cedric the Entertainer (Madagascar Trilogy) and Sinbad (Good Burger). Another voice, somewhat less recognizable, was Carlos Alazraqui (Toy Story 3), who voices El Chupacabra. El Chupacabra was a riot and helps drive the success of this film. Visually the movie was what you would expect from a Disney film. The story had a lot of heart and was filled with life lessons that we strive to teach our children. The story was a little thin, but it worked and it didn’t require a lot of thought since it is a kid’s movie.
Klay Hall (Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure) directed this film and he’s not new to the director scene. He’s been around the block a few times and not just with Disney films. It’s surprising this film wasn’t marketed more heavily, given the caliber of cast and director. Regardless of who did what and when, the film felt complete and well directed. You walk away from the film with that warm feeling you expect from a Disney film. The only thing, which bears repeating, is that the film does feel like déjà vu at the beginning and throughout the film in certain spots. However, it seems as though that was intentional.
There are so many different jobs on the set of an animated movie. While it might seem easier to create a world with animation, it actually takes much longer. There are a lot of talented people involved in the process of making an animated film. But, it all starts with the screenplay. This screenplay was written by Jeffrey M. Howard (Tinker Bell). Jeffrey only has a handful of movies under his belt, but they are all Disney movies. He is no stranger to the Disney process of storytelling. There were so many parts that were outright funny and that is due in large part to Jeffrey. There are actors that take some liberties, especially with comedy. But, the writer has to provide the canvas and some paint for the artists to succeed.
Overall, this Disney film played it safe and stayed under the radar. It wasn’t marketed to the extent of Monster’s University, and rightly so. It’s definitely not the worst Disney movie ever, but it’s certainly not the best. It’s a cute film that serves a purpose, which is to entertain audiences and make them laugh. Kids of all ages will enjoy this film, but it won’t be a blockbuster hit like previous Disney entries over the past decade. It’s the typical underdog, feel good, Disney story that we’ve all come to expect. It teaches values and serves up a few laughs. If you have any interest at all, go check it out. You won’t be disappointed.