Planes is a spin-off of Cars, and the first film in the Planes trilogy. Pixar Animation Studios, however, did not produce the film. Instead, it was produced by DisneyToon Studios. It was released theatrically on August 9, 2013.
Dusty is daydreaming of out-running two fighter jets when he is brought back to Earth by Leadbottom, who scolds him and tells him that crop dusters aren't built for racing. After work, Dusty practices flying with his best friend Chug, who tells him that he needs a flight coach. Dusty then goes to Skipper Riley, a flight coach who is not too fond of Dusty. While Skipper and Dottie try to warn Dusty that a crop duster racing is a bad idea, Dusty and Chug still continue on to tryouts for the Wings Around the Globe rally.
Many planes try out for the competition, but when Dusty appears on the runway everyone begins to laugh at him and say that it is impossible for a crop duster to compete. However, Dusty amazes the crowd, finishing with a mere 2 milliseconds behind the fifth-place winner, placing him in sixth. Upset, Dusty and his friends return home to Propwash Junction. But the next day, Roper, the pitty in charge of working with the competitors, arrives in town to tell Dusty that the plane ahead of him, Fonzarelli, is unable to compete, because he used an illegal fuel enhancement, getting him disqualified and Dusty replacing him.
Later in the morning, Skipper visits Dusty and tries to talk him out of racing, but when Dusty explains he wants to prove he's more than just a crop duster, Skipper decides to mentor Dusty on his speed and agility. While in the midst of his training, Dusty admits that he has a fear of heights. Despite this, their training continues and when it is complete, Dusty heads off to the meeting of the race at John F. Kennedy Airport.
Dusty then travels to New York, where the first leg of the race is held. Dusty meets all of his racing heroes, including the long-time champion Ripslinger, the British racing legend Bulldog, and the Mexican charmer El Chupacabra, who he makes quick friends with. Dusty also meets Ishani, an Indian champion who he quickly falls in love with. The next day, the race begins. Before it starts, El Chupacabra tells Dusty that he shouldn't let anything distract him, only for him to fall in love with a female plane named Rochelle. The flag waves, and the competitors are off. During the first leg of the race from New York to Iceland where they are to land in a hut with fire inside it, Dusty's refusal to fly high causes him to finish in last place ultimately due to him collecting ice on the wings from the freezing ocean spray and his endurance level to cope with the temperature, Dusty finishes in eighth place, and upon arrival is made fun of by Ripslinger. El Chupacabra is trying to flirt with Rochelle, only to have his pick-up line misinterpreted. During the second leg of the race to Germany, Dusty is doing well, but then he notices that the plane ahead of him, Bulldog has a problem, because his eyes got squirted with oil from one of his propellers due to an overheated engine, so he shows good sportsmanship by saving him, thus winning Bulldog's respect but finishing last again and heads down to help the now blinded Bulldog. After navigating him, they safely land, and Bulldog proceeds to thank Dusty for his help.
The next leg lands the racers in India. Ishani invites Dusty to come to the Taj Mahal with her, where she gives him advice - it's okay to fly low, by following the railroad tracks to his destination. Dusty follows her advice in the following leg, but when he reaches a tunnel, he can barely fit through, and is nearly killed by an oncoming train. Dusty then finds himself in a strange place, thinking that he is dead, to find out that he came in first place.
Ripslinger was now in second place in Nepal while Dusty had left.
The fifth leg is over the Hump (the mountains between northeast India and south China) to Shanghai, where Dusty gets into first place again. There, Dusty manages to help El Chupacabra win over Rochelle with a romantic song, which works a little too well, because the next day, Rochelle is continuously kissing El Chupacabra, much to the embarrassment of the latter!
In the next leg, the racers are required to use their antennas. To prevent Dusty from winning, Ned and Zed break off Dusty's antenna, resulting in Dusty getting caught in a storm 375 miles from where he should be. He is rescued by two fighter jets named Bravo and Echo, who take care of him until he is ready to fly back to the end of the leg. When Bravo and Echo take Dusty inside to see the Jolly Wrenches Wall of Fame, Dusty sees Skipper, but notices that he had only one mission.
Upon taking off back to where he should be in Hawaii, Dusty gets caught underwater and is severely damaged and rescued by a pitty, and brought to a hospital in Mexico. Dusty's wing is badly broken, and he is damaged in many other places. Dusty asks Skipper why he only had one mission, and Skipper reveals that on his first mission, his entire squadron was taken out by enemy ships, which caused Skipper to vow never to fly again. Afterwards, the other competitors give him gear such as new wings, a new tailfin and even Ishani's propeller. While being fixed up by Dottie, Chug reviews Ripslinger's racing, and notices that before every victory he leans to the side so cameramen can get shots of him.
When the final leg begins, Ripslinger tells Ned and Zed that Dusty is going to be gotten rid of immediately. After getting out of camera range, Ripslinger begins to hold Dusty on the ground as he is hit by rocks. Skipper then appears, who takes care of Ripslinger while leaving Dusty with Ned and Zed. Dusty tricks them into spinning, and they get stuck together in between two rocks. Skipper starts fighting Ripslinger, but he breaks Skipper's tailfin badly and he is shot to the ground. Dusty tries to help, but is told to go win the competition. Dusty catches up to Ripslinger and as Chug was expecting, he leans to the side for the cameramen. Dusty sees his chance, and speeds past Ripslinger just in time to win. Not paying attention, Ripslinger crashes into some port-a-potties, which is later made clear by Roper who keeps telling him to go home and get cleaned up.
Soon after, Dusty is made an honorary member of the Jolly Wrenches, and he and Skipper head off for home.
Planes is based on a concept created by John Lasseter. Although Pixar didn't produce the film, Lasseter, being chief creative officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and director of Cars and Cars 2, was also the executive producer of the film. The writers made a conscious effort to not remake Cars in a new setting, rejecting ideas that were too close to ideas in Cars. The team also conducted research by interviewing several pilots of plane types that were included in the movie.
Lasseter had this to say about the film:
|“||We had such a great time exploring the world of Cars over the course of two films, so it seemed only natural for us to see where our imaginations would take us in a film where planes were the main characters. By expanding the Cars world, Planes gave us a whole new set of fun-filled situations and a great opportunity to introduce some fantastic new characters. The team at DisneyToon Studios has done such an amazing job creating a heartfelt story filled with great comedy, adventure, and emotion. I know audiences are going to love taking off into the wild blue yonder with these daredevil characters, as they experience a whole new kind of animated adventure.||”|
On August 20, 2011 at the D23 Expo, it was announced that Jon Cryer would be the voice of the protagonist Dusty. However, Cryer dropped out of production and was replaced by Dane Cook. On February 27, 2013, the teaser trailer was re-released with dialogue from Cook instead of Cryer. Jon Cryer did however receive credit for "additional story material" for the film, along with Bobs Gannaway.
A new promo video was released on May 16, 2013.
ReleaseThe film was first announced to be released in direct-to-video on DVD and Blu-ray in the Spring of 2013. Disney subsequently pushed it back to Fall 2013, while it was confirmed it would have a theatrical release in Europe. However, completed sequences impressed Disney enough to instead plan the movie for a theatrical release on August 9, 2013, and it then was also screened at the D23 Expo, a biennial convention for Disney fans. It was released in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2013. The film had its premiere on August 2, 2013, at a special screening at the The Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, an annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Along with the special screening of the movie, Disney brought a real life Dusty to be part of the activities. The real life version of Dusty was an Air Tractor AT-400A piloted and owned by agriculture pilot Rusty Lindeman.
Planes was released to DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on November 19, 2013 in the United States.
Planes received generally mixed to negative reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 26% approval rating with an average rating of 4.6/10 based on 111 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.
Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two and half stars out of four, saying, "Many will enter theaters thinking this is a Pixar film, with the raised expectations that accompany that mistake. But even cynical animation fans will see there's quality here. After a little turbulence, Planes comes in for a nice landing." Alonso Duralde of The Wrap gave the film a positive review, saying, "As shameless an attempt by Disney to sell more bedspreads to the under-10s as Planes is, it nonetheless manages to be a minor lark that will at least mildly amuse anyone who ever thrust their arms outward and pretended to soar over the landscape." Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying, "Planes is so overrun with broad cultural stereotypes that it should come with free ethnic-sensitivity training for especially impressionable kids." James Rocchi of MSN Movies gave the film one out of five stars, saying, "Planes borrows a world from Cars, but even compared to that soulless exercise in well-merchandised animated automotive adventure, Planes is dead in its big, googly eyes and hollow inside." Michael Rechtshaffen gave the film a negative review, saying, "Despite the more aerodynamic setting, this Cars 3D offshoot emerges as an uninspired retread." Jordan Hoffman gave the film one out of five stars, saying, "The jokes in Planes are runway flat, and parents will likely reach for the air-sickness bag."
Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "Planes was originally scheduled to be released straight to video. Although the smallest children might like bits and pieces of it, there's nothing in the movie that suggests why Disney strayed from its original plan." David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "The animated film has all the hallmarks of a straight-to-DVD project - inferior plot, dull writing, cheap drawing - perhaps because it was intended for the bargain bin at Target, Walmart, and Costco." Jen Chaney of The Washington Post gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying, "This film is 100 percent devoid of surprises. It's the story of an underestimated underdog that's like every other kid-friendly, life-coachy story about an underestimated underdog." Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying, "If Planes were a reasonably priced download, you'd gladly use it to sedate your kids during a long car ride. As a theatrical, 3-D release, however, Planes will sedate you, too." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times gave the film two out of five stars, saying, Planes is for the most part content to imitate rather than innovate, presumably hoping to reap a respectable fraction of the box office numbers of Cars and Cars 2, which together made hundreds of millions of dollars."
Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Often less really is more, and that's why I can recommend Planes, a charmingly modest low-budget spin-off from Pixar's Cars that provides more thrills and laughs for young children and their parents than many of its more elaborate brethren." Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "While the plotting is rather pedestrian, the humour mostly lame, what makes Planes a stand-out experience - not surprisingly, based on Disney's vast and impressive history of animated classics - is the visuals." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "It's engaging enough, driving home the familiar message of following one's dreams and the less hackneyed theme of facing one's fears. But it feels far too familiar." Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "As with Cars, the world of Planes feels safe. A little too safe, perhaps." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a C, saying "Planes moves along quickly at a running time of 92 minutes, occasionally taking flight with some pretty nifty flight sequences. The animation is first-rate, and the Corningware colors are soothing eye candy."
Tom Keogh of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Though not officially a Pixar production, the new Planes — released by the beloved animation studio’s parent company, Disney — has the look and feel of Pixar's 2006 hit, Cars, if not the latter's charm or strong story." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "It's strictly by the numbers, from the believe-in-yourself moral to the purely predictable ending." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying, "What Planes lacks in novelty, it makes up for with eye-popping aerial sequences and a high-flying comic spirit." A. A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a D+, saying, "Planes cuts corners at every turn, a strategy that leaves it feeling like the skeletal framework of an incomplete Pixar project." R. Kurt Osenlund of Slant Magazine gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "The film feels second-rate in every sense, from the quality of its animation to its C-list voice cast." Dave Calhoun of Time Out gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Planes isn’t a Pixar film, even if it’s related to one (Disney bought Pixar in 2006), and there’s nothing groundbreaking about the animation or script. That said, the characters and story still offer low-key charms."
Planes grossed $90,288,712 in North America, and $129,500,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $219,788,712. The film opened to #3 in its first weekend, with $22,232,291, behind Elysium and We're the Millers. In its second weekend, the film dropped to #4, 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 is rated PG by the MPAA "for some mild action and rude humor", making it the first film in the Cars franchise to get this rating. It is also DisneyToon's second movie to get a PG rating, after Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch.
Unlike America, Planes had received a lighter rating in other countries. In the United Kingdom, the film has received a U rating by the BBFC. In Ireland and Canada, the film is rated G. The rating is rather shocking when compared to Cars 2, which was more action-packed, had a ruder sense of humor, and having a large body count of destroyed vehicles.
To create a transition between Cars and Planes, Disney launched a product collection called "Cars Take Flight", which focuses on releasing merchandise for Cars Toons episodes Moon Mater and Air Mater. The line features die-cast, race tracks, games and books. A "Cars Take Flight" event was held on September 14th, 2012 at the Chicagoland Speedway. A "Cars Take Flight" official website launched a contest whose prize was a vacation to Cars Land.
To celebrate the release of the film in the United Kingdom, the 2013 Camp Bestival featured a world record attempt for the most paper aeroplanes flying at once. Also, David Croft (the voice of Lofty Crofty in the UK version) and Gabz (from Britain's Got Talent) promote the film by flying in planes with the movie logo, with Croft also showing some of his recording for the film. Pre Skool and Nu Sxool were also invited to the premier of Planes in Leicester Square. They were asked to make a dance routine to one of the songs from the film called "The Planes Dance". The video is a great success.
- Main article: Planes (soundtrack)
The Planes Soundtrack was released on August 6, 2013 around the same date as the movie, and features 29 songs and scores from the movie. The scores are composed by Mark Mancina.
DisneyToon is already working on a sequel called Planes: Fire & Rescue. It has been confirmed by Carlos Alazraqui that the Planes series will be a trilogy. A Disney staff member also stated that Planes 3 is in story development. Instead of publishing an Art of book for the first film, Chronicle Books will publish The Art of Planes 1 & 2 to coincide with the release of Planes: Fire & Rescue. The sequel was originally titled with the "2", but it was removed from the title on June 13, 2013. It was also announced to have a 3D theatrical release on July 18, 2014.
Besides the Planes series, DisneyToon is considering to make more spin-offs that would feature other vehicles like boats and trains, and which may go into production if Planes is well received. John Lasseter said: "I kept thinking about—I’m a big train fanatic. I love trains. And I started thinking about trains, and boats and airplanes. And I kept wanting to have more and more of those type of characters. [...] It’s one of the ideas, that there will be an ongoing series. It almost starts getting into this thing where we fall in love with these plane characters, we want to see more and more stories with them. And then you start doing other vehicles and stuff like that. Yeah. So it kind of is a bigger idea that can keep expanding."
- Dusty Crophopper
- Skipper Riley
- El Chupacabra
- Ned and Zed
- Bravo and Echo
- Franz/Von Fliegenhozen
- Colin Cowling
- Jackson Riles
- Little King
- LJH 86 Special
- Brent Mustangburger
- Dwight D. Flysenhower
- Hector Vector
- Teki & Paki
- Judge Davis
- Jan Kowalski
- Skycam 1
- Van Der Bird
- Sun Wing
- Jigsaw Two
- Jigsaw Three
- Jigsaw Four
- Joey Dundee
- Krate Rainson-Wash
- Gunnar Viking
- Yellow Bird
- Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper
- Stacy Keach as Skipper Riley
- Danny Mann as Sparky/Skycam 1 (US version)
- Brad Garrett as Chug
- Teri Hatcher as Dottie
- Carlos Alazraqui as El Chupacabra
- Roger Craig Smith as Ripslinger
- Priyanka Chopra as Ishani
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Rochelle
- Gabriel Iglesias as Ned and Zed
- John Cleese as Bulldog
- Val Kilmer as Bravo
- Anthony Edwards as Echo
- Sinbad as Roper
- Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom
- Oliver Kalkofe as Franz/Von Fliegenhozen
- Colin Cowherd as Colin Cowling
- David Croft as Lofty Crofty (UK version)
- John Ratzenberger as Harland
- Jaswant Dev Shresta as Nepali / Indian Reporter
- Niyanta Acharya as Reporter
- Roma Chugani as Reporter
- Filip Watermann as Grimm
- Emerson Tenney as Reporter Pitty
- Mark Allan Stewart as Tripp
- Richard Pearce as Little King
- Roopashree Jeevaji as Indian Reporter
- Ahmed Lucan as Additional Indian characters
- Barney Harwood as Skycam 1 (UK version)
- Jessica Marais as Australian Rochelle (Australian and New Zealand versions)
- Grey DeLisle
- Rob Paulsen
- Jonathan Adams
- Jeff Bennett
- Klay Hall
- Fred Tatasciore
- Kari Wahlgren
- Dave Wittenberg
- Carlos Alazraqui
- Roger Craig Smith
- Danny Mann
- The Cars Toons episode Air Mater introduced elements of Planes, including Propwash Junction, Dusty's hometown; Skipper, his mentor; and Sparky, Skipper's assistant. Mater drops an allusion to Planes at the end of the short as he says that "They oughta make a whole movie about planes" and looks directly at the camera.
- Planes takes on some of Pixar's traditions. Like both of the installments of the Cars franchise, it features reporters of the Racing Sports Network covering its sportive event. It also includes a cameo of John Ratzenberger, who has had a voicing role in all of Pixar's films.
- While the film is focusing on planes, there are cars involved in the movie, and some can be seen in the stands of one of the races.
- This is the first DisneyToon film to be a successor to a Pixar film. Previous productions focused on mainly Disney properties.
- On July 14, 2013, Disney Channel held a "Night of Flight" event, featuring sneak peeks at new characters from the movie, during its "Night of Premieres" lineup, which included all-new episodes of its programs.
- When Dusty explains to Skipper about wanting to prove of being more than just a crop duster, one of the Cars 2 Porto Corsa vintage artworks can be seen on the wall.
- The missions flown by the Jolly Wrenches are: Alameda Ridge, The Aleutians, Assault on KunMing, Assault at Olive Ridge, Attack of Tujunga Harbor, Battle of Airway, Battle of Balthazor Straights, Battle of Buena Vista, Battle of Draper Straits, Battle over Wake Island, Bridges of River Bradford, Campaign at Coral Sea, Campaign at Grandview Pass, Glendal Canal, Kenneth Canal Campaign, Raid of Howard Harbor, Raid on Milton Mountain, and Skirmish at Sonora Canal.
- A Northrop-Grunman B2 Spirit stealth bomber appears in the first teaser trailer, but is not seen in the film.
- At the very beginning of the film, the tallest tower of the Walt Disney Pictures logo castle starts shining a lighthouse beacon, and two airplanes fly out from behind the castle.
- The film's plot is very similar to that of the animated DreamWorks film Turbo released the previous month: both are about underdog characters that happen to be colored orange (Theo "Turbo" the snail/Dusty) who want to compete in a race (the Indianapolis 500/WATG Rally), is trained by a dark colored character (Whiplash/Skipper Riley), has a best friend whose name starts with a "Ch-" (Chet/El Chupacabra), and is Hispanic (Tito/again, El Chupacabra), and the villain is the champion of said race (Guy Gagne/Ripslinger) who near the end of the film tries to kill the hero to prevent him from winning but is thwarted by the hero ultimately winning anyway.
- In one of the stories in the World of Cars book, the Statue of Liberty is a Ford Model T. But in this film, it's a forklift.
- The designs of the world landmarks (such as the Taj Mahal - ताज महल, and the Great Wall of China - 万里长城) do not resemble how they do in the credits at the end of Cars 2, as they were car-ified in that film. But here, they're plane-ified.
- Yellow Bird seems to have his number changed in different parts. The qualifier leaderboard and Yellow Bird's tent as well as his appearance in the Germany to India leg show his number as 17. In New York and on the leaderboard at the start of the China to Mexico leg, his number is 1.
- When Dusty and Ripslinger are talking to each other at the pit row in New York, Little King is seen behind Dusty. When Dusty explains to the racers about El Chupacabra, Little King is in his tent. However, it could be that Little King drove to his tent during the close-ups of El Chu.
- When Dusty explains to El Chupacabra about Rochelle before the New York to Iceland leg begins, the "D7" and Jolly Wrenches insignia on Dusty are missing.
- When Dusty is escorted by Bravo and Echo to Dwight D. Flysenhower, his GPS antenna that Zed broke off is back on. It then disappears after they reach the Flysenhower.
- When the camera moves around the Flysenhower at the end of the film, there is a barrier fully surrounding the aircraft elevator/lift with Dusty and Skipper. In the close-up (when the elevator reaches the flight deck), the barrier has disappeared. The barrier should only retract into the deck of the lift once it reaches the flight deck (and not before), as it's to stop people and aircraft going over the edge.
- When El Chupacabra gives Dusty new wings, both of them have a #7 painted on them. But when Dusty passes Ripslinger, you can see that only one wing has the #7.
- When Dusty was commenting about Ishani's propeller while in the pit row at John F. Kennedy International Airport, LJH 86 Special can be seen in Sun Wing's tent. However, he does not appear in there again after that and is replaced by Sun Wing.
- El Chupacabra: Don't let anything distract you. (notices Rochelle) Ay-yay! Who is that vision?
- Dusty Crophopper: Oh. That's Rochelle, the Canadian rally champ.
- El Chupacabra: She is like an angel, sent from heaven. Like a sunrise after a lifetime of darkness!
- Dusty Crophopper: Like fresh fertilizer on a field of dying grass.
- El Chupacabra: This is not your thing, my friend.
- Bulldog: And I owe you my life. (sobs)
- Dusty Crophopper: Are you crying?
- Bulldog: I don't cry, I'm British!