Planes, Klay Hall, DisneyToon Studios.
Synopsis: Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true.
My thoughts: It doesn't take very long to notice that Planes is a watered-down film. All you need to see is the logo to realize there isn't much to see that's new. A ridiculed dark horse makes his way to the big leagues, realizes he must change to continue the course, and with the help of his friends shows everyone who's the real winner. I'm beginning to wonder if a non-Pixar animated studio will be capable of releasing anything different for a few years (save for the HTTYD and CWACOM sequels).
The similarities, or copies, of ideas in the Cars films were more annoying than engaging, because they didn't often develop past what Pixar did. There are only a few good reasons to see this film, and here is one: watch it to find and list all the references to concepts in Cars (such as a fuel aficionado).
There is one concept that I enjoyed seeing developed, only because Cars 2 showed such a limited scope. This concept is travel, seeing the world, beautiful views and different cultures. Because the race is all around the world, you get to see many, many places, and the vehicles that live there. My absolute favorite was the German bar, so watch for it if you choose to view Planes.
The dialogue was mostly geared towards children, with a few exceptions, and didn't have the dual charm (children and adults) that Pixar has mastered. Still, I laughed on occasion, and I've seen more embarrassing scripts.
The animation was exactly what I expected. Slightly less precise than Cars 2, but only slightly. Where the movie excelled the most, in my opinion, was in the camera angles. They were an absolute treat throughout, despite it being an animated film. The 3D was good, but didn't have any scenes where it stood out.
Here is one more good reason to see Planes: Dane Cook. Throughout the feature, his voice acting stood out as quite a talent to watch for in the future. As a side note, I didn't appreciate the John Ratzenberger cameo, as this wasn't a Pixar film, and he already has a character in the universe. Take it how you will.
The only surprise that came to me was the "ride into the sunset" moment. I wasn't expecting a bold change, but it still happened. What came after the credits cleared it up, but didn't make me feel better. Planes: Fire and Rescue is a full-length sequel being planned with the same screenwriter. I'm more than a little disappointed they already approved it.
In conclusion, this movie is great for kids, but adults can busy themselves counting the "rip-offs". See Planes for the beautiful camera angles, vehicular takes on cultures and landmarks, and Dane Cook, but expect little else to impress.
My rating: 3 stars