This simple, amiable Disney animation is a spin-off from Pixar’s ‘Cars’ films and, like them, features no humans at all – just talking planes with big eyes and grins, as well as the odd truck and train. It’s an endearing enough David-and-Goliath tale, aimed squarely at younger kids, as smalltown, crop-dusting plane Dusty (Dane Cook) leaves behind the day job to enter a global aerial race that takes him from the US to Iceland, from India to Mexico. Dusty is assisted by some longtime mechanical buddies and coached by a retired warplane. His fellow contestants include Bulldog (John Cleese), a Brit with a stiff upper nose cone, and Ripslinger, a sly American who can’t bear the thought of being beaten by Dusty. ‘Planes’ isn’t a Pixar film, even if it’s related to one (Disney bought Pixar in 2006), and there’s nothing groundbreaking about the animation or script. That said, the characters and story still offer low-key charms.
Words by Dave Calhoun