Planes

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Planes Movie Poster Image
Airborne adventure is OK for a few laughs; some stereotypes.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 92 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 28 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

Positive 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.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

Violence & 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).

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

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

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Reference to a fuel enhancer that disqualifies one of the participating planes.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKraftyKP August 10, 2013

Good clean fun for children - refreshing!

Had the pleasure of seeing this movie before it hit the theaters and loved seeing a young boy in front of us jumping up and down with enthusiasm when the hero s... Continue reading
Parent of a 1, 1, and 4 year old Written byEyeOutForViolence August 12, 2013

A couple of intense scenes

For my nearly 5 year old who loves airplanes and has been a fan of "Cars" since he was 18 months old, the movie was great. Parents should know that t... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 28, 2014

planes

Planes was vary similar to cars, but did have a good message to younger children.
Teen, 17 years old Written byndrwcd August 9, 2013

cars 1 and even cars 2 is better

It was a pretty mediocre movie,a few laughs ,better than turbo but not as good as other animated movies I saw in 2013 such as the croods,monsters university,des... Continue reading

What's the story?

PLANES, like Cars, takes place in a world in which all the inhabitants are vehicles. Ambitious young Nebraskan crop duster Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) dreams of flying in an annual international air race called Wings Around the World. To hone his skills, he asks legendary (and reclusive) former WWII fighter plane Skipper (Stacy Keach) to train him for the race and mechanic pal Dottie (Teri Hatcher) to get him ready for maximum speed. But former three-time racing champion Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) has no intention of letting some "farm boy" underdog beat him, so he enlists other planes in the competition to sabotage Dusty's chances. Meanwhile, Dusty befriends a Mexican plane called El Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui), who looks out for him during the race.

Is it any good?

There are definitely a few laugh-aloud moments in Planes, but that's basically all there is -- several disconnected moments in which one-liners hit their mark. The rest is made up of amusing but formulaic story strands that are strung together by the "vehicles as people and animals" theme. The tried-and-true underdog story is so predictable that even the youngest viewers will be able to figure out the outcome long before the end of the big race.

Of course, that does not mean that kids won't laugh and cheer Dusty on or that parents will want to fall asleep. This is Disney, after all, so the movie is well animated, watchable, and passably amusing; it's just not nearly as good as it could be. The absurd number of cultural stereotypes mined for laughs is fine at first (hardy har har, Brits don't cry; Mexicans love lucha libre and mariachi), but after a while it's major overkill. Kids -- especially those who love planes or vehicles of any kind -- will love Planes, but it's definitely worth reminding them when it's over that not all people from Mexico, England, India, Quebec, the South, etc. are the way they were depicted in the movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • 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?

Movie details

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