Planes – 2 out of 5
I never cared for the Cars movies. They always felt like throwaway ideas from Pixar or like they were trying to parody the simple ideas of their animation competitors. However, since Pixar's stories seems to be on a kick of pumping out films that continue their already established universes (commonly referred to as “the sequel”) and not really making many original films, it’s no surprise that Disney returned to the world that little male children (commonly referred to as “boys”) desired to have dancing all over their bed sheets and comforters and toys littered around their room awaiting their moment to have an adult trip over them and result in their necks snapping when they slip out from under foot. Instead of having cars roar around making piston jokes and other jokes about what cars are made of (I don’t know what cars are made of. Is it some sort of asteroid material?), this time they head to the skies and show that the horrifying world of Cars does, in deed, extend to the clouds above.
|Can we have a war between the cars and planes in the next film?|
So, Dusty Crophopper not only has the dumbest and most cartoonish sounding name in all of existence, he’s also voice by Dane Cook (Dusty was doomed from the moment of his conception) and, more importantly, is a crop dusting plane with dreams of racing…which is silly because he’s a crop duster for fuck’s sake! To top it off, Dusty is afraid of heights…because, of course he is. So, recycling the old children’s animation moral of “you can be whatever you want to be, as long as you work for it,” Dusty sets off to prove himself a racer with the help of his friends Skipper (Stacy Keach), Chug (Brad Garrett) and Dottie (Teri Hatcher).
|Meanwhile, Randy Quaid is at a nearby diner talking about how he and Dusty|
were abducted by aliens...
Planes, like Cars and Cars 2, doesn’t feel like it fits with the other limbs of Pixar's body of work—at least for me. Both Cars movies felt cheap to me and, despite their great animation, felt like they belonged with those other animated movies you see in the budget bin at Walmart. You know the ones; the ones where you look at the DVD and say, "Who the fuck buys these?" The films lack any originality to them as they were just talking vehicles making bad puns. That’s basically Planes but with a soundtrack that's suspiciously lacking in songs about highways that lead to the dangerzone.
|I'm assuming they are on some sort of significant highway but without Kenny Loggins|
telling me which one, I'm left clueless.
Like other animated films, the animation looks great; it’s the content that stunk in this one. The plane-based puns may work for the kid who thinks Mater is the height of comedy but after the first ten minutes, I just didn’t care about these jokes. And considering that the film is pretty much nothing but plane jokes, it doesn’t get any better as the film progresses. It’s almost like the film was trying to be annoying and unfunny…like they had cast the starring role with a comedian who thinks that the louder he yells his shitty punch line, the funnier it will suddenly become. Hmm…
|"What are you trying to get at, Rev.?"|
There’s a lot of talented voice actors in this film giving life to these vehicles (who, I only assume, achieved sentience in this fictional world through dark magic)—actors like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, Val Kilmer, Cedric the Entertainer, etc.—however, the main role was giving to Dane Cook. Of course, this could have happened because Disney felt like keeping Pixar's track record with the Cars universe and felt obligated to give an unfunny comedian a major role.
|Gawh...their eyes are so dead and souless.|
Like his stand up, I think Cook is a failure in the acting department. Occasionally, he’s bearable in a supporting role and, rarely, he’s shockingly good but most of the time he’s just as grating to watching on the silver screen as he is in front of a mic. To be honest, he’s not that terrible as Dusty but that only comes from the fact he is very restrained as the character. While this helps keeps Dusty from becoming a shouting madman desperate for attention, it also showcases that Dane Cook has absolutely no range and Dusty comes off about as lively as a stack of cardboard. I never felt like Dusty’s journey was all that character-building or that inspirational because Cook just doesn’t have the range, skills or talent to make the character sound convincing. While he was passable, it doesn’t change the fact that Dane Cook sounds either like he CAN’T make Dusty sound believable or he simple won’t.
|Is Dusty checking out her tail-fin? Dammit...look what you've done to me, Planes!|
Planes, like the other films in this Pixar universe (which some theorize, is all the same shared universe), is meant for little ones and the older ones can just leave the room, take a nap or fantasize about how great your life was before children. Planes is just an uninspired work from Disney that was probably just some random idea Pixar threw away while making Cars that Disney decided, in a desperate effort to get a film out there, needed to get made. Even more shocking is the fact it somehow got released into theaters despite the fact that every second feels like a Direct-to-DVD feature.