Family Magazine

A Review of Disney Planes (and the Planes Storybook App) #DisneyPlanes

By Bloggerfather @bloggerfather
I took the kids to see Planes yesterday. Here's my review!
First of all, thanks to the Disney people who invited me to see the movie. I've been blogging for a long time, and I still don't know how and why I get on email lists. All I know is that I get a lot of emails, and I ignore most of them, because life is short. Every once in a while, though, I get something really cool that makes my kids think I'm a better dad than I really am. In this case, I got an invite to a come to a pre-screening of Planes and sit in the reserved Press seats. I was pretty much a superhero.

Now, instead of me doing a bad job summarizing the plot of the movie, here's part of the press release:
From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.
When I learned this movie existed in the world of Cars, I figured it was time to do my homework and watch Cars. I had resisted Cars since it came out, because I didn't think it was going to be good (all I heard was that it was "too commercialized"), but a few hours before leaving for the Planes screening, I gathered my kids, put Cars on TV, and by the end of the movie, when What's-His-Name pushed the old guy over the finish line, I was crying like a baby. Really, why didn't you tell me it was such a great movie, Internet?
I'm glad I watched Cars before Planes, because it made me appreciate even more the fact that my favorite characters from Cars also appear on Planes: the tractors/cows. Watching Planes on the same day as watching Cars is kind of a disservice to Planes, though. First of all, the elderly mentor in this movie is voiced by Stacy Keach. In Cars, it's Paul Newman. And Stacy Keach ain't Paul Newman. Also, while the message of Cars is about slowing down and about friendship, the message of Planes is more of a clichéd "Be all you can be." It could be inspirational for kids, don't get me wrong, but in general it's still something we've seen in too many movies. There are other little-too-formulaic things about the movie that make it seem like we've seen it before, but there are a lot of things that make this movie a unique experience.
I'm not a fan of 3D. I don't want to wear sunglasses in a movie theater. If you do go to a 3D movie, though, there's nothing better than watching one from the point of view of an airplane. It was a really fun experience, and probably the only 3D movie that made sense to me (since Avatar).
Even though I was immersed in 3D flying and in creating worthy flying scenarios for my future dreams, the guy next to me, who must have been a real journalist, because he had a little notebook and a bunch of pens with him, looked down at his notebook and wrote something every time someone in the movie made a joke. By the middle of the movie, every time someone made a joke, I instinctively turned to Mr. Pulitzer to see his reaction. His reaction didn't change, though. The whole crowd could be laughing hysterically, and he would just look at his notebook. Ah, the glamorous life of a film critic.
The bottom line for me is that it's a really fun movie. It's a little formulaic, the message isn't special, and there are a few too many jokes about death, but it's still a fun movie. And even though my 3-year-old girl spent some of the movie with her 3D glasses on her forehead, singing random songs and talking enthusiastically about what we'll do as soon as we get home at 9pm ("Laundry!!!"), she loved it, and her 5-year-old brother loved it too. It's a fun ride, the 3D is cool, there are plenty of funny jokes, John Cleese is great as the British plane, and a random trivia: the two minor characters of airforce jets are voiced by Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards. Which is cool.
After the movie, the first words a kid who walked out of the theater behind us said were, "It was even better than Cars!" so I think you're not going to be disappointed. I personally think Cars was better, but my kids loved Planes better, and that's the only thing that matters. Also, the only thing they know about Paul Newman is that he's the guy from the popcorn box, so what do they know.

In addition to watching the movie, I got a chance to download the Planes Storybook app. It narrates the movie (or lets you narrate it and save the narration), as well as letting you race as Dusty or as any of the other characters (once you unlock them, which happens quickly). It's a great companion to the movie, and your kids will love it if they watch the movie. Below you can see a few screenshots from the app. You can get it here (I received a free code for the review).

Planes Storybook app


Planes Storybook app

And race

Planes Storybook app

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