Disney’s Planes grounded by uninspired storyline

by Mark Burger

Planes is this summer’s latest animated feature. It’s from Disney,  masters of that particular medium. Its title is self-explanatory and it features the requisite all-star voiceover cast. We are It’s Also also a major disappointment, and that absolute rarity Presenting Disney animation: forgettable. In a summer saturated with animated films, even more so. No pun intended, but this seems have been made on auto-pilot.

Billed as being from the “world of Cars” and boasting Pixar founder John Lasseter as executive producer and story writer, the film most often plays like a retread of Cars with an aviation bent. Dane Cook provides the voice for the main plane, a crop-duster appropriately named “Dusty.”

Dusty fancies himself something of a daredevil, and would like nothing more than to compete in the annual Big Race around the world, but he’s got a fear of heights. Rest assured that Dusty does compete in the Big Race — gee, do you think he wins? — and overcomes his fear of heights.

And that, essentially, is Planes. Stacy Keach gives the best “voice,” as it were, as Dusty’s grizzled mentor Skipper, supposedly a legendary World War II flying ace, and other aural familiars include Cedric the Entertainer, Brad Garrett, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Teri Hatcher, Sinbad, Brent Musberger, Top Gun veterans Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, the ever-present John Ratzenberger, and a criminally underused John Cleese.

There are some scattered laughs and some impressive visuals, but Planes lacks the novelty to make it in any way memorable. It might well have made for a nice animated short about a plane that overcomes his fear of heights, but it’s unable to maintain interest when stretched to feature length LOG ONTO — click on the “Flicks” section. Then go to “What’s Showing”