Planes
PG
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +3

Disney animated family comedy/adventure with the voices of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Terri Hatcher, John Cleese.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Dusty is a crop-dusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor, Skipper, and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Hey, it worked for cars, why not planes?

While Planes doesnít crash land, neither does it soar (get it, itís about planes, you know, high up in the sky). A little bit Top Gun, a lot more like My Mother the Car (trust me, thatís not good), itís diverting enough for little ones who aren't yet able to differentiate between a great Disney cartoon and a so-so one. And I suspect weíll get a Planes 2 before we move on to Trains. Alas, right off I knew something was missing. And although John Lassiter, the gifted head of Disney animation, is credited as exec producer, his magic mojo is missing.

Thereís so much dialogue, yet none of it sparkles. There are several ethnic groups represented, but most of them sounding like, well, like cartoonish stereotypes. The lead, voiced by Dane Cook, is downright dull. That has to be the biggest surprise. Who in the field of animation doesnít know the importance of spot-on voice characterizations (best example Ė the 1966 TV-made Peanuts special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Or more recently, each of the straight-to-DVD Tinker Bell adventures.) And despite being shown in 3D, nothing of interest, including all the air-racing sequences, pops out at us.

As with the recent Turbo, it tries to incorporate a rainbow of ethnic groups so every child can find their own identity. But their jokes are iffy and the characters little more than stereotypes.

Its message, whatever it is, is muddled and the artwork less than stunning. Iíd say the production was more of a straight-to-DVD effort, but there have been exceptions to that rule (notably the aforementioned Tinker Bells Ė you bet I watched them, with my niece!)

Planes isnít an awful film. But if you put it alongside the winning Cars, itís a loser.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Disney

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: We see a dream sequence where planes in WWII battle are shot down, a few other planes crash, these have taken on human characteristics, so it might disturb little ones; mom or dad should be there to reassure.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 92 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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