Trailer Tuesday: Planes

I've spoken about it before, but I'm not a petrolhead. I'll watch the occasional episode of Top Gear, but have avoided The Fast and the Furious since the second series installment, and I have zip interest in racing. I'm just not a motor enthusiast. But planes... They're my thrill ticket. They trump cars; leave them in the dust literally (well, most of the time).

So although I probably shouldn't be, I'm actually pretty excited for Planes, an animated spin-off of Disney-Pixar's highly profitable Cars franchise.

I actually liked the original anthropomorphic Cars, even though I avoided the sequel. At the same time, I have no delusion that Planes isn't just an attempt by Disney to cash in on Cars. Hell, the signs are all there, such as the fact that the new film was originally planned as a direct-to-video release made by the same animation division that handles all of Disney's B-grade, straight-to-DVD sequels. In other words, please be aware that Planes does not come from Pixar, nor does it carry the company's usual quality stamp of approval.

Plus, plotwise, Planes looks like a blatant Cars clone; simply re-skinning the first comedy adventure. Or should that be imitating the upcoming Turbo? Anyway, in this paint-by-numbers underdog tale, Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) is a small cropdusting Cessna from the countryside. He dreams of becoming a racer though - despite a fear of heights (yes, seriously!). Against the odds, he finds himself competing in the Wings Across the World challenge alongside a host of international aircraft, voiced by the likes of John Cleese, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Priyanka Chopra. Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher, Brad Garrett, Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer also all provide voices. And you know what the inclusion of the last two actors there is referencing.

Planes opened in the US this last weekend and releases in South Africa this Friday, 16 August.

In all honesty, overseas reviews have not been good - Planes currently has an aggregated review score on Rotten Tomatoes of 23% Fresh. Though certainly not shoddily made, it's apparently incredibly plain and safe storywise, with no interest in keeping all but the under-10 crowd entertained with its colourful visuals. Still, some of the best use of cinematic 3D to date has involved aerial sequences, and that may be incentive enough to overlook critics' complaints and still catch Planes on the big screen. I know I'm considering it.


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