Planes, 1 hour, 32 min, 2013
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
Starring Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Carlos Alazraqui, Roger Craig Smith
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your entertainment-addicted grandson, or any male family member with a passion for flying, then Planes is it. And, it’s not just for boys. My daughter (7 y.o. Giggly Girl) said she loved it. GG watched the race scenes again the following day after we viewed it. The Disney Cars spin-off features gorgeous animation and a great premise that will be enjoyable for family movie nights with your toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children, girls and boys alike.
The basic plot: Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a little cropduster with big dreams competes in the Wings Around the Globe race and finds himself up against some big name competitors like the British veteran Bulldog (John Cleese), the sweet and sleek Ishani (Priyanka Chopra) and the arrogant Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) who likes to play dirty. In the beginning Dusty was the object of ridicule, but this courageous underdog wins their hearts and yours. His friends back home, a very silly tanker truck, Chug (Brad Garrett), the genius mechanic, Dottie (Teri Hatcher) and the veteran war hero, Skipper (Stacy Keach) know how special Dusty is and by the end of the movie you do too. I try to avoid spoiler alerts, so I won't say who won the race, or tell you anything else about the story.
From a marketing standpoint, I’d say John Lasseter (Cars’ famous producer) and his crew were pretty smart making this film even though I felt that some parts of the Planes story were taken directly from Cars. Chug and Mater both play the idiotic sidekick. Skipper is the crusty mentor who has not been completely honest about his past like the beloved Doc. Ishani takes Dusty on a romantic flight over the Taj Mahal that reminds us of the charming cruise Lightning McQueen and Sally took through the desert.
Despite all that, Planes is a good movie, and worth the price as a surprise addition to your family’s movie collection or as a gift for any age boy or girl.