Disney Planes. A Movie Review by Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Friday, August 16, 2013


A Movie Review.

Famous movie franchises can be like famous families. They can benefit from association, but they can also suffer at the hands of unending comparisons. And this may well be the case for 'Planes'.

In terms of a movie, 'Cars' was a massive success and taking this tale to the next level was undoubtedly the goal for Disney. In terms of media, marketing and merchandising, transforming 'Cars' into 'Planes' was a relatively straightforward exercise, however, it was a greater leap of faith to transform the movie.

Without being a spoiler, the 'Cars' template was overlaid on the 'Planes' concept and then tweaked here and there. The backdrop is once again a race circuit, albeit around the world, and the shifting fortunes play out on a leader board. The central character is not a shiny 'Lightning McQueen', but the little plane that could. Once again, a wise old character tempers the star's impetuosity and there is even a love interest, although it has shifted to a pair of co-stars.

There is no escaping the quality of the film's production. The animation, 'camera' angles, settings and colour are all first class. The audience even captures a sense of flight as the aircraft pitch and roll about the big screen. Visually, 'Planes' is captivating.

What is missing to some degree is the humour stemming from spontaneity that 'Cars' brought to the table. Achieving this was always going to prove a difficult task given that the first franchise had set a benchmark of great expectations and conjured preconceptions in the minds of the audience. Funnily enough, if a template was being applied, this film may have benefited from employing another 'Mater'. A goofy side-kick providing comic relief right on cue.

Personally, I enjoyed 'Planes', but then again, I couldn't sit more in the centre of Disney's target demographic profile if I tried. I am an aviation enthusiast with a young family. I was always probably going to give this film '5 Stars' as it offers another opportunity to share cherished laughter and common ground with my children. However, the real test for 'Planes' will come from those not so centrally located in Disney's cross-hairs. Can it possibly have the far-reaching impact of the highly successful 'Cars' films? It is a very, very tough act to follow. In the future, 'Planes 2' could actually benefit from being one step removed from the other franchise and build upon its own identity.

For me, there is one final acid test for the film. I was lucky enough to see the movie on its opening day in the United States, but I am now keen to see the looks on my own kids' faces when 'Planes' lands here in Australia. Only then will I be able to truly rate the success of 'Planes'. I'll get back to you then...



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