PLANES. Voiced by Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, and Val Kilmer. Directed by Klay Hall. 91 minutes. Rated G (very mild animated violence).

Planes comes from the Pixar Studios. It is not one of their outstanding films but is more entertaining, better than their two ventures into the world of Cars.

This time they have a very simple plot: a small crop-dusting plane with Walter Mitty-like imagination and heroics, wants to break free from ordinary life and the routine of crop-dusting. His old boss plane he is wary. The repair machine is positive that Dusty will have no success. However, he does enter the competition, just missing out on a spot with his timing and flight but finally being accepted when another plane is accused of cheating.

In the meantime he makes contact with a World War II veteran plane who has not flown for decades. The old captain tests out Dusty and decides to support him, helping with his training for the competition, because Dusty finds that he has a fear of Heights.

The animation for the flying sequences is quite spectacular, one of the best features of the film – also the locations for the different stops along the way. The voices are also good with Dane Cook as Dusty, Stacey Keach as the old captain and, very recognizable, John Cleese as very British plane, Bulldog. There is also a Mexican plane who has fallen in love with the Australian entrant, but is rejected by her until he serenades her romantically.

The main part of the film consists of the various stages of the competition, the stops around the world in the air race, (though confined to the northern hemisphere): Iceland, Germany, through the Himalayas where dusty go through a tunnel instead of flying over them and gains time, China, Mexico and the final stage to New York City.

Obviously there has to be a villain, a vain and cheating competitor, who falls foul of his vanity and his playing to the media.

There is also a subplot about the captain and his World War II activities leading to Dusty’s disappointment.

It is the story of the little plane, looked down on, but drawing on energy and self-confidence and winning in the end.

Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Walt Disney

Out September 19 2014.

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