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Katy England Katy England
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Planes': Failure to launch

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Planes Planes

The bar has been set high for animated films. Pixar has cut a swath of high-end blockbusters that are as enjoyable for parents as they are for children. Everything about them is great, from the stunning visuals and effects to the voice acting and tight writing. It can be a lot to live up to, and not every movie is up to the task like Disney's latest offering, 'Planes.'

This film follows Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a crop-duster with designs on racing in a world tournament. Except he has some design flaws, not the least of which is he's a crop duster. And he's afraid of heights. But that doesn't stop him from dreaming and therefore wasting an hour and a half of your time that could be better spent re-watching a movie that was actually good.

Despite not being built for racing, with the help of his buddies Chug and Dottie (Brad Garrett of 'Everyone Loves Raymond' fame and Teri Hatcher from 'Desperate Housewives') he goes to the time trials, initially failing to make the cut. But due to another plane cheating and being disqualified, he makes it into the race. He also begins getting mentored by Skipper (Stacy Keach, 'The Great Chameleon'), a plane who fought in World War II. 

You are introduced to racers from around the world: Rochelle (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) from Quebec, Bulldog (John Cleese) from the UK, and the arrogant Ripslinger (voiced by Roger Craig Smith). 

Dusty is initially met with nothing but derision from his fellow racers, until his good-boy charm starts winning people over. And he starts winning legs in the race.

It's not like the movie is dreadful. It's just not a lot of anything aside from what the title implied. Sentient planes in a race. Everyone from the writers to the voice actors is phoning this one in. Except the animators, and that's really what the movie is about: watching brightly colored planes fly while wearing 3D glasses. If that is all you want, that's all you'll get. The colors are vivid, and the aerial shots are just gorgeous. There is plenty of eye-candy, and whether you see it in 3D or not, it's quite pretty.

'Planes' will keep young children quiet, but it isn't engaging. For anyone. No one laughed in the theatre I was in. Not the kids and certainly none of the adults. Someone cried, probably because he was hungry. But there's nothing to care about. This is no 'Cars.'  

There's never a sense of tension. You never worry whether or not Dusty is going to make it, because it's basically a foregone conclusion that the plucky farm-boy is going to show that arrogant racing plane he has what it takes. But really, at that point no one cares.

Now, if you don't mind, my kids and I will go and watch 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' a few more times. I almost have it memorized, and I still don't mind.

2 out 5

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