The people behind Disney’s Cars films take their formula and add wings to it. Planes is your everyday David and Goliath story in which a farm boy from somewhere so remote it doesn’t even show up on maps dreams of greater things. This time round, ‘David’ is Dusty – a little crop-duster who wants to compete against much tougher aircraft in a round-the-world rally, despite his fear of heights.
The message in Planes is a simple one: you must have a dream that’s bigger than you are, and you must pursue it as best you can. Be kind to the people you come across on the journey – even if they don’t return the favour right away (or ever). And remember – foreign people talk funny.
Kids will laugh at those funny voices (which include John Cleese as a British plane) and be thrilled by the CGI aerobatics. Parents, meanwhile, will groan inwardly when one plane is disqualified for having an illegal fuel additive in its tank, or when an Indian aeroplane explains to Dusty that there are so many tractors running loose in India because “tractors are sacred here”.
As cartoons go, Planes is hardly in the Toy Story or Shrek league. But if all you need is something to keep kids diverted for an hour and a bit on a hot summer’s afternoon, it’ll do.