Planes is a 2013 American computer animated sports comedy film made by Disneytoon Studios. It is a spinoff to the Cars franchise made by Pixar, despite not being produced by Pixar itself. 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.
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.
- 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, particularly the scene with kissing.
- 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 is annoying, particularly Dane Cook as Dusty.
- Some of the dialogue is stupid, such as: “Well hello ladies, are you ready to LOSE.
- 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 is even beyond shameless as it makes it pretty obvious Disney wants him to be the Mater ripoff.
- 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. Worst of all, he gets away with it. 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 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 villian 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; it also makes the backgrounds look appealing.
- The soundtrack is decent, the ending song “Nothing Can Stop Me” is pretty good.
- 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.
- Some likable characters, like Dusty (despite being one-dimensional) and Skipper (despite being a ripoff of Doc Hudson as previously mentioned).
- Not all of the racers are stereotypes of their countries.
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 26% approval rating with an average rating of 4.6/10 based on 120 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 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.