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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Airplanes > Action > CGI > Planes (2013/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD + Digital Copy)

Planes (2013/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD + Digital Copy)

Picture: A-/B Sound: A-/B Extras: C- Film: C

With the success of Cars and Cars 2 it is no surprise that Disney would venture into other forms of transportation for inspiration. Not surprisingly though was the less than stellar reception to the high flying animated film Planes.

Seemingly set in the same universe as Disney/Pixar's Cars (though Pixar set this adventure out), Planes follows Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) as he looks to spread his wings (pun intended). You see, Dusty was made to, well, dust crops; but has bigger dreams as he looks to the skies and hopes to win a race around the world. After some missteps and luck during the qualifying rounds, Dusty enters the Wings Across the World competition to win it all (sorry for the spoiler). This predictable foray into the world of airplanes is uninspiring to say the least. The plot is humdrum as the characters are do little to bring the feature film to life and unlike Cars, Planes has little redeeming features. The target audience for this film seems to be the youngest of the young as plot falls to the wayside, instead sporting flashy visuals and a somewhat disturbing plot point that I am more than certain flies over kids' heads. When all is lost, it is not skill, heart, or even the help of friends that allows Dusty to go for the gold; it is the illegal use of fuel enhancers (pronounced illegal performance drugs in sports) by another plane that saves the day for Dusty on a technicality.

I am certainly not one bothered by controversy, nor am I one that would divert children's eyes from learning drugs are bad; in fact I fondly remember GI Joe reminding me of just that, Scruff McGruff sniffing out crime, and even Smokey the Bear telling me only I could prevent forest fires, but something about Planes use of performance enhancers as a plot point just didn't sit right. This is only exacerbated by the fact that toward the end of the film (spoiler alert), Dusty in dire need of help swaps out his old plane parts for faster, better ones. To me that is conflicting messages; is it not? I found it laughable at first, but then as I remembered the target audience I found it more disturbing. So Disney's intended message was just be you and you can do anything, but subsequently has the star of the film change who he is to go for the win. Confusing to say the least. Do I think this was intentional? No. Merely just misguided as a simple, uninspiring plot fell apart.

Planes in no way means Disney needs Pixar to make a CGI hit, in fact they have proven with films like Frozen that they each are strong in their own right. Planes just proves that you can't keep going back to the same well hoping for success. Sure, the film was transportation inspired like that of Cars, but failed to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences of all ages due to its weak concept and less than stellar plot.

Whereas the film itself may have floundered, the visuals/sound quality remained stunning. The picture is presented in a 1080p, 1.78 X 1 widescreen that is beautiful from beginning to end. The clarity is perfect, the colors are vibrant, the blacks are framing, and textures give it a realistic edge. There was some noticeable banding here and there, but nothing overly distracting. The sound is a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless surround track that uses the entire speaker range, making for an engulfing experience. The dialogue and music is crisp clean and clear, but it is the panning effects of planes that takes the soundscape to the next level.

Like Most Disney Blu-ray releases this includes a DVD as well. The DVD is a clear downgrade from the inspiringly good Blu-ray.

The extras are short/weak and include only a few features. Extras are as follows:

  • Franz's Song (deleted song/scene) [HD]

  • Trailers

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Meet the Racers

  • Top 10 Fliers

  • Klay's Flight Plan

    - Michael P. Dougherty II


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