When Disney sent us a copy of their movie PLANES on Blu-ray, the whole family was excited since this was a situation where we've actually had many of the toys from Mattel for several months (I previously did a big feature on them here), but we hadn't yet seen the movie (theater-going is a new thing for my oldest, and FROZEN will be her first big-screen Disney experience). Being big fans of Disney•Pixar's CARS, seeing "The World above CARS" was something we'd been eagerly-awaiting since it was teased in the short film AIR MATER on the CARS 2 Blu-ray.
Produced by DisneyToon Studios and outside of the Pixar umbrella with an original plan of a direct-to-DVD release, the reaction to PLANES by critics and some online friends was really mixed upon it's theatrical run this summer. After watching it twice with the girls, I tend to think that a lot of people will unfairly harsh on it, for the simple reason that it's not a Pixar film, despite being a spin-off of something that they created.
The animation is sharp, the sound design bold, and the film itself the pretty entertaining tale of Dusty Crophopper - a cropduster that aspires to be a lot more. In terms of story, there's a lot borrowed from the previous CARS films with Stacy Keach's Skipper recalling Paul Newman's Doc Hudson, and the entire Wings Around the Globe race feeling a lot like the World Grand Prix from CARS 2. For the film purists, those elements are likely points of contention, and very much in line with the familiar approach that a lot of direct-to-dvd titles tend to have. But it's not a bad thing here, as I look at things from a parental perspective these days: It's a story about friendship, being good to others and oneself, and the kids love it, and that's what really counts. And I dig it, too. So much that I'm already looking forward to next year's PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE, and my kids don't understand the concept of a "sequel" yet.
The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disney's PLANES is available from my affiliates:
About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.