It’s not just that “Planes” (PG, 91 min.) isn’t a very good movie -- because it isn’t.
The very existence of this movie ends up devaluing the brand of Pixar Animation and Disney. This quasi-sequel to the “Cars” movies, animated largely in India, looks and feels like a straight-to-video quickie that somebody decided to shovel into theaters at the last minute. Unsuspecting parents would dutifully take their kids to see it, expecting the same high level of storytelling they’ve come to expect from the gang behind “Finding Nemo” and such.
Instead they got the tepid tale of Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a humble crop-dusting plane who dreams of competing in the Wings Around the Globe race. It’s a familiar litany of just-be-yourself pabulum, goofy sidekicks and whiz-bang action scenes.
Dusty must face off with Ripslinger, the snarly champion, and bond with new friends from Mexico and India. He’s also got a grizzly older military plane (Stacy Keach) offering reluctant advice, and a dim-witted fuel truck (Brad Garrett) to supply comic relief.
The outcome is never really in doubt, and for that matter the beginning and middle are as predictable as a take-off checklist.
“Planes” is a by-the-numbers movie from a studio that once took pride in being the very best.
Video extras are rather slim, perhaps reflecting the down-market ambitions of this picture.
There are deleted scenes, a “Meet the Racers” feature, a brief look at the greatest real-life aviators, a 15-minute documentary following director Klay Hall’s aviation dreams and how they led him to making this movie, and a new music video featuring a minor character.