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Planes Review Critics


Dave White Profile

I'm not a crop duster, I'm a dancer. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 20

    out of 100

    Village Voice Amy Nicholson

    Can a plane jump a shark when it's already in the air? To Disney, that question is moot. It's so certain that Planes will make a mint in toys, if not in theaters, that it's already slated a sequel for next summer.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    Diverting in bits and pieces, but absent the heart, soul and ingenuity one associates with the best of Disney animation, the endlessly merchandisable picture could very well soar at the box office, but it won’t stick the landing where word of mouth is concerned.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Essentially Cars in midair.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    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.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Planes has practically no visual distinction, it's a complete knockoff, but I think it'll get by with the kids.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    While visually engaging, this production of Disneytoon Studios -- it was originally slated to go direct-to-DVD -- lacks the sort of character depth and dramatic scope normally associated with the Pixar brand.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    What Planes lacks in novelty, it makes up for with eye-popping aerial sequences and a high-flying comic spirit.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 5+

Airborne adventure is OK for a few laughs; some stereotypes.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Disney's Planes is an adventure that, like Cars, takes place in a world populated by vehicles. A few scenes of peril that place main characters in danger (a terrible storm, a squadron of fighter planes crashing, etc.) may upset younger/more sensitive kids, as may the tension of the big race itself. Because the story is about a crop duster who dares to compete against racing planes, many insults are hurled his way -- like "farm boy," "loser," and "bum," as well as "idiot" and "moron." There's an overt romantic subplot between two secondary characters, including a moonlight serenade and the appearance of lots of kiss marks on the male plane's body. Parents are likely to notice a quick derogatory reference to male planes as "ladies" and a lot of cultural stereotypes in the movie (which warrant a post-viewing check-in with kids). But ultimately the message encourages kids to overcome their limitations.

  • Families can talk about Planes' message. What does Dusty learn over the course of the movie? Kids: How can you apply the movie's lessons to your own life?
  • Several cultural stereotypes are depicted in the movie -- like the Mexican wrestler, the mariachi band, the idea that the British don't cry, etc. What's the difference between falling back on a stereotype and highlighting funny generalizations about certain groups of people?
  • Kids: What made you want to see this movie -- the story or all of the product tie-ins and its similarities to Cars? Does the movie make you want a toy or clothes with Dusty or the other characters' pictures on it?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Although its aim is to entertain rather than educate, Planes will teach kids a bit about the physics of aeronautics and flight, as well as information (some of it stereotypical in a way that's intended to be funny) about other cultures -- like the fact that cows are considered sacred in India, as well as customary dress and/or landmarks.

  • message true3

    Messages: Dusty's journey encourages viewers to not feel limited by their exteriors. Even though he's repeatedly told that he's not up to the task, Dusty works hard to overcome his fears and flaws and compete with the more experienced racing planes. Dusty dreams of doing more than he was built for, and he asks his fans to do the same. Friends are loyal and supportive of each other.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Dusty is disciplined in his practices to fly higher and faster. He overcomes all the odds and proves his naysayers wrong through his commitment and hard work. Skipper comes out of his self-imposed exile to teach Dusty all he knows about flying fast and with precision. Dusty's friends Chug and Dottie are extremely supportive and cheer him on as he tries to do the impossible. On the downside, there are many cultural stereotypes in the movie -- particularly about Mexican, Indian, British, and Southern people/cultures -- and, in a joke early in the movie, one male plane refers to other male planes as "ladies," implying that they're inferior.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: A few scenes of peril when it seems like Dusty might crash or die, like when he's caught in a terrible storm and goes underwater, when he flies through a tunnel that a train is approaching head on, or when Ripslinger and his crew injure him. A flashback shows an entire squadron of fighter planes being downed (being shot at, crashing into flames, plunging into the sea).

  • sex false2

    Sexy stuff: Chupacabra pursues Rochelle, with whom he's fallen in love; after a dramatic serenade, she falls for him, too, and he shows up the next day covered in pink kiss marks. They touch noses and call each other nicknames. Dusty and Ishani are flirtatiously sweet to each other. A male plane says "look at that propeller" while looking at a female plane's backside.

  • language false1

    Language: Insults like "idiot," "moron," "knucklehead," "loser," "punks," "farm boy," "bum," and "go plow yourself."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The only brand referred to in the movie itself is Apple; a plane is looking at what is obviously a tablet computer, and he calls it a "SkyPad." But there are lots of off-screen licensing/merchandise tie-ins: clothes, games, apps, and more.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Reference to a fuel enhancer that disqualifies one of the participating planes.