Look, up in the sky...it's a bird...it's a plane...it's a...no, it IS a PLANE! Dusty Crophopper to be exact!
Well, let me tell you, WAY back in 2011 when we went to the Disney D23 Expo, we saw some (very) preliminary footage of an upcoming Disney/Pixar movie that was part of the Cars world, called Planes. At that time, what we saw was pretty much the storyboard ideas, but we were pretty excited about it. To think: expanding on the universe created by Pixar in Cars! Awesome! Then, the movie came out...and yep...it was AWESOME! There was that newness of a...well, new world, yet, the familiarity of a world that we all know and loved. The best of both worlds here!
So, without (of course) spoiling too much, Planes is the story of a little crop dusting plane by the name of Dusty Crophopper (perfectly voiced by Dane Cook), who just knows, deep down in his cockpit that he was meant for something more. He has this dream of being a famous and winning racer...only problem is, well, he's afraid of heights! Making the tough decision to set aside his life of crop-dusting, Dusty asks Propwash Junctions legendary citizen Skipper (a Navy Corsair Skipper World War II veteran - voiced by veteran actor Stacy Keach) to train him on how to fly....FAST!
|Chug and Dottie|
Against all odds, Dusty finds himself qualified for the big annual air-race, Wings Around The World - and pitted against some of the worlds very best (and some very underhanded) race planes ever seen. Dusty makes some new friends during the first leg of the race, like a Mexican plane called El Chupacabra (voiced by Carlos Alazraqui), Rochelle (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) the French-Canadian beauty who El Chupacabra instantly falls for, the Indian beauty Ishani (voiced by Priyanka Chopra) who DUSTY instantly falls for, and Bulldog, the British champion (voiced by John Cleese) who at first, is dead set against a 'common plane' like Dusty joining the elite racers.
|Ishani, Dusty's Love Interest|
Of course, not everyone admires Dusty for his heart and skill - three time champion Ripslinger (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) refuses to allow a nobody-hick-farm plane like Dusty win...and will do anything, ANYTHING to make sure of it! With the help of his dim-witted henchplanes Ned and Zed (voiced by Gabriel Inglesias), Ripslinger does his very best (or is that worst) to steer Dusty off course.
|Dusty Meets Ripslinger, his nemesis|
Of course, there is a lot more to the story than that, but I'm not going to do ALL the work for you! You need to watch Planes for yourself to find out!
As is the case with all Disney animated movies, Planes does have a point. Dusty is a plane who has a gift - he can fly fast and has heart - and, he is an underdog in every sense of the word. He has a dream, and wants nothing more than to achieve that dream, even when everyone around him tries to talk him out of it, and, even his own fear of heights is seemingly a hurdle that is insurmountable. But, he stays true to himself and pushes through. Although it may be hard to see in an animated movie, this is a message that everyone needs to hear, from the smallest child to the most 'mature' adult. Don't. Give. Up. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it's all too easy to forget about our dreams, and blame them drifting away on our fears, or perceived obstacles. But, as Disney usually does very well, that message is here. Dusty is faced with some pretty insane obstacles, including himself, but he does not give up. He perseveres no matter the cost. Yes, I know...'it's only a cartoon'. Well, not really. It's a message. And a fun one at that!
|Dusty and his new Friends|
There are a lot of good laughs in Planes as well. Some geared toward the little ones, and some geared toward the adults. The great thing about it is that the kids gags aren't too silly and the adult gags are somewhat subtle. So, the adults won't mind the kid stuff and the kids won't even recognize the adult stuff! Win/Win for everyone! The animation has grown leaps and bounds since Cars. Planes showcases some of the most impressive animation I've ever seen, and like Monsters University, at times takes you out of the fact that it IS animation. I found myself a few times thinking how beautiful these locations were...then I realized they were animation!
Now, at the time of this writing, the sequel to Disney's Planes has already been announced. Planes: Fire and Rescue which features a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, including spirited super scooper Lil Dipper, heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. Planes: Fire and Rescue is set to open in theaters July 18, 2014.
Disney's Planes is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Select Digital Retailers.
Bonus Features Include:
*Exclusive Franz's Song - Produced exclusively for Blu-ray
and HD Digital, this never-before-seen completely
finished animated song features the German mini-car,
Franz Fliegenhosen, who encourages Dusty on his flight
*Klay's Flight Plan - Follow director Klay Hall's journey
during the making of Planes and discover why his family
connection to aviation made Planes his perfect project.
*Meet The Racers
Disney's Planes is approximately 91 minutes long and is rated PG in the U.S., and G in Canada.
All in all, Disney's Planes is a wonderful addition to the world Pixar created in the Cars movies, and a must have for Disney fans of all ages. On my scale of 1 - 5 Corn Dogs, (5 being GREAT), I would give Disney's Planes a solid 4.5! - Al