Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is a crop duster dreaming of becoming a racer plane in Disney’s latest from the world created in Pixar’s 2006 film Cars. Dusty’s dreams become realised when he enters into a prestigious round the world race. Here he meets a plethora of other planes, some friendly and some not, voiced by a range of stars from John Cleese to Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
If you didn’t like Cars, you’re going to hate Planes. The animation looks impressive – there’s close attention to detail with flight patterns being studied endlessly by the animators to give as realistic a look as possible. But there’s little about the characters to draw an audience into their storyline. The jokes leave a sour taste in the mouth even a child would turn their nose up at, and the racial stereotypes of the different planes and the jokes that come with them border on the embarrassing.
At one point, Dusty Crophopper reveals his main conflict: despite dreaming of becoming a racing plane he is terrified of heights. I’m all for there being inspiring messages to children in the films they’re watching, that you can overcome your fears and achieve anything, but this just felt lazy. Dusty Crophopper becoming a star is an underdog story, but it’s one that’s neglected in favour of 3D tricks and characters that can be sold as toys. The film was originally made to go straight to DVD for Disneytoons and that’s where it should have landed – no stop over required for this film.