“Planes” Reader Reviews

This weekend is the opening of DisneyToon Studios’ Planes directed by TV animation veteran Klay Hall (King of the Hill, Father of the Pride and the D2V release Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure). The Pixar-inspired film has been poorly received by both critics and audiences; it owns a 25% critics’ grade on Rotten Tomatoes and a 62% audience grade. The film does have an A- CinemaScore grade, but I find CinemaScore’s ratings to be entirely useless since almost every family film that they report grades for has an A of some sort. According to them, audiences gave Smurfs 2 and Planes A- grades, and Turbo, Monsters University, Epic and Despicable Me 2 all received A grades. Were the audiences that CinemaScore polled truly that undiscerning about the quality of this year’s animated films? I find that hard to believe.

Numerous film critics have complained about Planes’ sloppy incessant ethnic stereotyping, among its many flaws. Justin Chang wrote in Variety that, “Planes is so overrun with broad cultural stereotypes that it should come with free ethnic-sensitivity training for especially impressionable kids.” The other common criticism is that Planes feels tired, and that it’s nothing more than a cashgrab like the toy-driven films of the dreaded 1980s animation world. Neil Genzlinger said in the NY Times: “Planes is for the most part content to imitate rather than innovate, presumably hoping to reap a respectable fraction of the box office numbers of Cars and Cars 2, which together made hundreds of millions of dollars (not to mention the ubiquitous product tie-ins).”

It’s your turn now. After you see Planes, report back here with your thoughts in the comments below. As always, this talkback is reserved for readers who have seen the film and wish to comment on it. Non-reviews will be removed.

(Planes billboard via Daily Billboard)


  • smoothoperator350

    I await the inevitable Plane, Flight, Dogfight, and Crash-landing puns.

  • Hankenshift

    This cartoon was more like a 90 minute episode of Reboot than a real movie. The characters are defined by their names alone–the limitations of the designs truly inhibit the expression of character, and the voice actors are uniformly lazy, and uninteresting. There’s no character in the film to care about, which renders it nothing more than a commercial for toys. I’d have less a problem with that if it didn’t pretend to take itself more seriously. the The simplistic sheen of cheap computer animation doesn’t hide the fact that this travesty was more “manufactured” than directed. There little creativity in the proceedings, either from an inspiration, writing, directing, or producing point of view. I’ve sat through worse, but nothing more shameless.

    • Kristen S.

      I read this in Anton Ego’s voice.

    • in awe

      you’re my hero…. (also read this in Anton Ego’s voice)

    • Paul M

      I take exception to that remark about Reboot.

  • rufus3698

    Better than I expected, particularly if you happen to be an aviation fan. The theater was of full parents and their small children. The kids were pretty rowdy before the the film but I heard not a peep except for laughter during the film and they all seemed pretty satisfied afterwards. I generally find the Disney Eisner sequels (e.g. Milo’s Return) unwatchable, but felt I got my money’s worth from this one.

  • mawnck

    [Comment removed by editors. This talkback thread is for those who have seen the film and wish to discuss the movie.]

  • ThisShouldBeDirectToVideo

    Hankenshift’s comment sums it up nicely. The only other thing I could think to address is the “characters” seemed to be overly cruel at parts of the film and for no reason at all. What is Dusty’s motivation, inspiration, etc.? At least in Cars, McQueen had already earned his spot in the Indy 500 and it is assumed he raced smaller circuits until getting a sponsorship from Rust-eze. Dusty just by pure dumb luck always wins against opponents who no doubt spent more time building up their careers than he did. I especially don’t understand why Dusty is extremely mad over the fact that Skipper only flew one mission…he still taught him about flying and was a great mentor. The back story felt forced and disrespectful. Also, the liar revealed part with Ishani was just dumb. If a character is going to back stab another character the motivation should be more than just a shiny new propeller and if it IS going to be that then there is no way the character should be redeemed later by the very person who they were trying to murder! Of course, the movie never really makes you care for any of it’s cast so you could really care if Dusty crashed. The story is so predictable that the whole family, kids included, were calling the next “plot development”. At least if Dusty had crashed and burned we wouldn’t have predicted that!

  • Lassa Tears

    Just saw this junk on dvd. What a recycle, heartless piece. Yuk. What does Disney and Pixar think of when they make things like this. Other than $$$$ of course.