29 November 2013

Movie Review: "Planes"

Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor
Starring: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, and Brad Garrett
Released: August 9, 2013 (theaters) / November 19, 2013 (DVD / Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is tired of the same crop-dusting routine every day; he dreams of flying high in the Wings Across the World race.  At first, his truck friend Chug (Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond) tries to help him train, but then the military veteran plane Skipper (Stacy Keach, The Word of Promise) decides to show him the ropes.  There's only one big problem: Dusty is afraid of heights.  When Dusty ends up qualifying for the race, his evil rival Ripslinger will stop at nothing to ruin his chances of winning.  Will underdog Dusty surprise everyone, or will he simply crash and burn...literally?

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
Sure, we've all seen our share of celluloid underdog stories, both true and fictional; this film doesn't really tread any new ground with its story.  Still, as King Solomon wrote, "There is nothing new under the sun," and, even though the plot may be a bit formulaic, it's still quite fun.

Production Values: 4.75/5
The animation is outstanding, especially when you watch it on Blu-Ray, which I did.  The voice acting is great, too.  It only loses a quarter of a point because the soundtrack has one rather annoying song.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Dusty regularly looks out for others, including his competitors (Matthew 22:39).  His fellow racers also take notice of his generosity, and they help him out as well (2 Corinthians 9:6).  An airplane mentions the adage, "Nice guys finish last," but ends up vilified.

Sexual Content: 4.25/5
Dusty sees a female airplane from behind and comments on her rear propeller.  Another airplane has lip prints all over himself as a result of a female airplane kissing him, which we hear but don't see.

Nudity: 5/5
Since there aren't any humans in this film, it shouldn't be a surprise that there's no nudity.

Language: 4/5
There's a bit of name-calling, though it stays G-rated.  A vehicle uses the name "Shelby"--not a character in the film--as a euphemism for another word, and other similar usages include "heck," "gosh," and "Dagnabbit!" Probably the crudest utterance in the film is when one plane tells another to "lug nut up."

Violence: 3.5/5
The planes do get in some altercations, including one where a plane loses part of his tail, and another one where a plane loses his antenna.  A flashback shows military planes fighting a war; it is implied that only one of them survived.

Drugs: 4/5
Planes are seeing drinking oil gas, which is presented in the same way people drink wine or beer.  One scene even shows oil or gas in a beer stein.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 3/5
Along with what was noted under "Violence," a plane crashes into the ocean, but is rescued.  Another scene involves a plane in a near-crash, then arriving somewhere and saying, "Am I in heaven?" (Spoiler: He finds out he isn't.)

Other: 4/5
Some bathroom humor is present, and reincarnation is mentioned.

Final Score: 4.5/5
My mom and I bought Planes for our family to watch on Thanksgiving.  I had my doubts, but I have to say I was pleasantly described.  Movies like this are proof that Disney knows how to make a movie that is both well-crafted and morally sound.  Sure, there are a few content quibbles, but most people won't even notice any of it.  This movie is definitely worth checking out.

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