A final school holidays jolly, intending passengers for Disney's Planes should be boys aged seven or under who would always select 2006's Cars as their in-flight movie. Those travelling with them should be prepared for the 'I want to be a pilot' conversation for the entire journey - and all the way home. Still, isn't it a break from the racing driver one?
Dusty Crophopper (Cook) spends his day flying over fields at low altitude but has dreams of climbing from agricultural anonymity to aviation greatness by taking part in the Rings Around the Globe Rally - 21 planes picked from 136 nations, five continents and 31,000kms. A (fuel) pipe dream if ever there was one, Dusty nevertheless manages to enlist the help of colleagues Dottie (Hatcher) and Chug (Garrett), and even Skipper (Keach), the ornery old fighter seeing out his days a few hangars down.
Support team in place, Dusty enters the qualifiers and, when someone is bounced out for using a banned substance, gets the last place on the tarmac. Lined up alongside the greats, he has already achieved far more than his pals thought possible. Now if only he could conquer his fear of heights...
While short on imagination (from looks to laughs it's Cars-with Wings - how long before we're on the rails and the high seas?), Planes is an easy watch and comes with a decent supply of nostalgic charm. Feeling like flat-pack Pixar (Big P supremo John Lasseter wrote the story and is executive producer), there's plenty here about ignoring the naysayers, doing your best and not trying to win at all costs, with doubt, deception and derring-do en route. Had John Cleese been given a bigger role as a pompous prop-job it would've added a lot to a movie which, somewhat ironically, declares itself as being for "all of us who want to do more than what we were built for".
The sequel is already under construction – more mechanic overtime is needed.