Friday, 16 August 2013

Review: Planes

World of Blackout Film Review

Planes Poster

Cert: U / 92 mins / Dir. Klay Hall

Sir Ian Disney-Pixar's newest offering is a strangely muted affair. You'd think that with one of their premium-brands like Cars, the marketing around this spin-off would be bigger. Then you watch the movie and realise why it isn't. Planes by no means 'bad', but it's missing that spark which makes parents feel a little better about shelling out £50 to take the family to the cinema in the summer holidays. There are moments in the film which belong up there with the greatest and the best of the studio's output, but they're few and far between, and padded out with… well, padding, frankly. It's sweet, it's amusing, and it's not enough to justify a full-price cinema ticket.

The majority of the blame has to lie with the mechanical nature of the story. It's told efficiently enough, but there's no real flair and never any doubt as to the outcome*1. Usually with this sort of thing the older members of the audience can snigger at jokes going over the kids' heads and revel in Easter Eggs and background detail - but that's not the case this time round. What you see is what you get. The animation is beautifully rendered, and at its best during the flight-race sequences, but pixel-geeks will have to enjoy the stylised world of Cars, because that photo-realistic feel used for Monsters University isn't present. Again, not badly done, quite the opposite, but everything has a distinctly cartoony feel.

Planes feels like it's bigger than a straight-to-video tie-in, but it never quite becomes its own film. It doesn't have the laughs of Monsters University, nor the heart of Wreck-It Ralph, and as part of a franchise which is already in small-screen territory, it doesn't have anything of its own to compensate.

I'd like to say Planes is purely for the youngsters, but the almost sold-out screening I attended was constantly punctuated with the fidgeting, talking and crying of that same crowd. And when a Disney-Pixar movie isn't keeping the five-year-olds entertained, it needs to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Pretty much.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Largely, but even that didn't feel like enough.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
For my money, no.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It'll be on DVD for a fiver in under six months. It can wait.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
More than likely.

Will I watch it again?
I've no doubt I'll be watching it in the company of my nephew at some point.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
During the last leg of the race, was I the only one expecting to hear gunshots and the commentator say "Looks like some Tusken Raiders are camped out on the ledge, there!"?

*1 I know there's never any doubt as to the outcome with this sort of thing, but when one of the characters in the trailer says the words "it's a compelling underdog story", you know you're in Clockwork Alley.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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