Planes is a 2013 American computer animated sports comedy film produced by Disneytoon Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a spinoff to the Pixar's Cars franchise, despite not being produced by Pixar itself, which is confusing made by people who watched the movie, though the film was co-written and executive produced by Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios' then-chief creative officer John Lasseter, who directed the first two Cars films. The film stars the voices of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Priyanka Chopra in her Hollywood debut, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Danny Mann, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roger Craig Smith, John Cleese, Carlos Alazraqui, Sinbad, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Edwards.
Like many of Disneytoon's films, it was initially set to be released as a direct-to-video film, but was instead premiered on August 2, 2013, at a special screening at The Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) and theatrically released on August 9, 2013 in the Disney Digital 3D and RealD 3D formats. A sequel, titled Planes: Fire & Rescue, was theatrically released on July 18, 2014.
Dusty is a small-town plane who dreams of one day competing as a high-flying air racer. However, poor Dusty has two strikes against him: He's not built for racing, and he's terribly afraid of heights. To achieve his dream, Dusty turns to naval aviator Skipper. Skipper helps Dusty qualify to take on Ripslinger, the race circuit's defending champion. Dusty's courage faces the ultimate test, as he takes aim at heights he never dreamed were possible.
- The main problem with this film is that its story is poorly executed, seriously overused and almost similar in structure to its predecessor, Cars, with many characters acting as rip-offs of characters of the Cars films. It was made probably just to sell more pointless merchandise and toys inspired by the film.
- The story is ludicrously predictable, where if you hear just one sentence of the synopsis, that being "a plane with a fear of heights enters a race", you can instantly guess how it ends.
- Despite being a spin-off of Cars, it isn't produced by Pixar themselves (who produced the three Cars films) but rather by Disneytoon Studios, which is a common misconception for viewers.
- Unfunny and weak humor.
- Many of the planes Dusty races against are blatant stereotypes of their countries. Even Cars 2 never pulled up such feet on making every foreign character blatant stereotypes.
- The voice acting in this film, while decent, can get annoying, particularly Dane Cook as Dusty.
- Some of the dialogue is stupid.
- There is a lot of filler in the film (with practically nothing happening in the film) just so they can hit the 90-minute mark, with the side plots being the worst offenders.
- The characters are very one-dimensional, boring and extremely forgettable:
- Dusty is the generic “rookie who wants to win” and predictably wins at the end.
- Skipper is nothing more than a mere Doc Hudson ripoff.
- Chug is basically Tow Mater but more annoying than the real Mater himself. His design makes it even more obvious Disney wants him to be the next Mater.
- Dottie has no purpose but the mere “voice of reason” of Dusty's friends.
- Ripslinger tries to kill Dusty for no reason other than to win the race, who is more of a “spoiled legend who wants to keep his fame” than the villain. Even worse, he gets away with it, which makes him a Karma Houdini. He also is another ripoff of Chick Hicks, except that he isn't as entertaining as Chick himself.
- Ned and Zed are just the dull and stupid comic relief sidekicks of the villain that can get extremely annoying at times.
- The film uses many clichés such as Skipper saying he was a “legend” who went on many missions, only for Dusty to find out he only went on one. Another cliché it has, as stated above, is a seriously overused story about the “Underdog who wants to be the champion and gets to be it in the end, and in the sequel he is treated like a celebrity. It has so many clichés to the point where it is so predictable that it's like what Nostalgia Critic said in his Disneycember review, you can predict it after gathering up one sentence of the plot: 'A cropduster named Dusty wants to be a world famous racer.' and unless you are very imaginative, you are able to guess what is gonna happen pitch perfectly. For how stupid Cars 2's plot was, at least it was so stupid to the point where it actually is very unpredictable.
- In fact theres a scene when they lampshade the predictable story by talking about the Underdog story by the main villain and his henchplanes.
- Also, the designs just look ugly by how uncanny it looks. What made the designs the Cars films, look so good (even great) is that it perfectly blends the human aspects with vehicular aspects. Here, it is like they just copy pasted human features in plane models and made it their character design. Besides that, the character movements are unexpressive. In the Cars films, when they move sad, happy or angry, they move depending on the expressions. Here, they move the same no matter how they feel.
- Despite the character designs and movements being poor, the animation is still great and nice, especially by DisneyToon standards for Prana Studios; it also makes the backgrounds look appealing.
- The idea of making a vehicle film similar to Cars was pretty interesting, just executed poorly.
- The action and some scenes are actually awesome. The last act is actually pretty entertaining.
- Dusty and Skipper are likable characters (despite Dusty being one dimensional and Skipper being a Doc Hudson ripoff as previously mentioned)
- Not all of the racers are stereotypes of their countries.
- The soundtrack has plenty of bangers by Speed and Bad Boys composer Mark Mancina. A few highlights include "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" from Mark Holman and "Fly" from Jon Stevens.
- The scene where it shows Skippers flashback to World War II is a really intense moment, as it shows that Skipper was the only plane in his squadron to survive being shot down.
- The voice acting is at least decent, despite that it can get annoying, like Stacy Keach as Skipper Riley.
Planes received generally negative reviews from critics and audiences, with many saying that it makes Cars 2 look like a masterpiece in comparison. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 25% approval rating with an average rating of 4.60/10 based on 122 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Planes has enough bright colors, goofy voices, and slick animation to distract some young viewers for 92 minutes -- and probably sell plenty of toys in the bargain -- but on nearly every other level, it's a Disney disappointment." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 39 based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". However, the film earned an A− from audiences polled by CinemaScore.
Planes, despite negative reception, grossed $90,288,712 in the United States and Canada, and $148,970,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $239,258,712, and was a box office success. The film opened to number three in its first weekend, with $22,232,291, behind Elysium and We're the Millers. In its second weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing an additional $13,388,534. In its third weekend, the film dropped to number five, grossing $8,575,214. In its fourth weekend, the film stayed at number five, grossing $7,751,705.
- Planes 3 was a planned sequel to Planes: Fire & Rescue that was set to be the third installment in the Planes film series, a spin-off to the Cars franchise by Pixar. It was originally going to be released on April 12, 2019, but was removed from the release schedule following the shutdown of Disneytoon Studios.
- Jon Cryer was initially announced as the voice of the main protagonist Dusty, but later dropped out and was replaced by Dane Cook. A modified version of the teaser trailer for the film (featuring Cook's voice in place of Cryer's) was released on February 27, 2013. Cryer did however receive credit on the film for "additional story material", along with Bobs Gannaway.
- This was the first Disneytoon Studios film released theatrically in North America since Pooh's Heffalump Movie eight and a half years earlier in 2005.
- This movie, like Cars, had a bunch of rip-offs/copycats of this movie which are Wings (Ot Vinta 3D) a 2013 Russian rip-off of it, it even had another rip-off of it called Sky Force, Althoigh it was titled Wings: Sky Force Heroes (2014), Being a rip-off of Planes: Fire & Rescue, Another one called The Adventures Of Petey & Friends (2016) and Planes With Brains (2018).
- The writers made a conscious effort to not remake Cars in a new setting, rejecting ideas that were too close to ideas in Cars while reusing the characters Skipper and Sparky from Cars Toon episode "Air Mater", with Stacy Keach and Danny Mann reprising their roles. The team also conducted research by interviewing several pilots of plane types that were included in the movie.