Flashback Friday: Planes

The movie poster boasts, “From Above the World of CARS.” The art features a very similar design aesthetic as CARS right down the windshield eyes having the same quality. The thing is, though, this isn’t the third CARS movie you didn’t know you wanted (or perhaps, just really didn’t want). This isn’t even Pixar. This is a Disney production that has “borrowed” the design elements of, arguably, the least of the Pixar films. A bizarre choice, to say the least.

One, if one was to indulge in idle speculation, might wonder aloud if Disney wanted this as a third CARS movie, a spinoff perhaps, and Pixar did not wish to do that. But that’s idle speculation and certainly not something I’d encourage.

If you couldn’t tell from my subtle tone, this is not a movie that I expect will be good or that I have any desire to see. One thing I find particularly not encouraging is that work has apparently already started on a sequel, PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE, that IMDB has a 2013 release for. Now, IMDB is notoriously unreliable and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see FIRE AND RESCUE by a 2014 or 2015 release, but if it is not, it has to be a direct to video offering, right? And a direct to video offering released the same year as the film it is the sequel to is not a good sign. If it does end up 2014 or 2015 though, I’m still not heartened. Sequels set before the first movie is even released are always rushed and often either carbon copies of the first film or just plain not good.

Also not particularly inspiring is a plot—someone wants to fly but is afraid of heights—that I’m convinced was the plot of an animated film in that last decade. Albeit one without anthropomorphized planes.


You guys remember CARS, right? It was that animated movie that introduced kids to the concept of the "tramp stamp," as I am sure you recall. (image from disney.wikia.com)

You guys remember CARS, right? It was that animated movie that introduced kids to the concept of the "tramp stamp," as I am sure you recall. (image from disney.wikia.com)

When I first saw the trailer for CARS I more or less declared that Pixar was over. Well, not over, but that this was going to be their first bad movie. Turns out, my psychic vision missed the “2” after the title.

Ooooooooooooooo, sick CARS 2 burn!

Anyway, because of my wildly low expectations and that CARS wasn’t, I don’t know, a flaming pile of garbage set to Sheryl Crow songs for 2 hours, I think I may have a tendency to overvalue it. After all, it is pretty much DOC HOLLYWOOD but with cars. That said, I do like it and continue to like it even after the initial, “oh wow, this doesn’t suck” surprise has worn off.

It is slight, yes, but it is a slight story well told. What first looks like stunt casting that Pixar had largely avoided (yes, I mean Owen Wilson) turns out to work well. Wilson sounds like Wilson and that shouldn’t work for a character that is essentially a workaholic that only has time or care for his job, but it does. Somehow his laconic speech style comes across as artifice, as a mask that’s laid over his increasing frustration with his inability to do what he wants—that is to say, race—and being stuck in this middle of nowhere place where he is essentially being held hostage.

Also, I confess, you put Paul Newman in anything, even if it is just his voice, and it becomes even easier to win me over. Heck, I think I might like that TWILIGHT movie he did with Reese Witherspoon (no, it has nothing to do with vampires; yes it is the one with topless Witherspoon). Add Michael Keaton to the mix and BOOM! I'm sold on just about anything.


Remember: We are two of the coolest guys who ever lived. (pictures from themovieplanet.wordpress.com & enthunder.com, respectively)

On the other hand, it is a movie that use Larry the Cable Guy in an effective way, which seemed impossible to me prior to this—and after CARS 2, oooooooooooooo SNAP!—so maybe it does deserve a high level of praise.