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Planes-Going-TheatricalLook! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Actually, it’s a lot of planes in a high-flying animated action adventure from Disney.

Like an airborne “Cars,” “Planes” sees anthropomorphized aircrafts competing in the Wings Around the World Rally. With the help of retired Navy Corsair Skippy (voice of Stacy Keach), Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a single-propeller crop duster with a fear of heights, narrowly qualifies for the race. “He can dust crops,” says an announcer, “but can he dust the competition?”

He’s an underdog, but reigning champ Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith)—“When he’s speeding, he’s leading!”—feels threatened by the new plane and will do anything to dash his high hopes.

Turbulence ensues, but Dusty, with the help of his friends and some good old-fashioned hard work and discipline, he can soar with the best of them.

Passengers! Fasten your seatbelts! Not for safety reasons, but to prevent you from falling out of your chair from boredom.

“Planes” has a definite direct-to-DVD feel about it. The aerial scenes are quite good and there are good messages about the benefits of honesty and hard work, but it doesn’t seem likely to capture young imaginations in the same way that its spiritual cousin “Cars” did a few years ago.

A dull, simple story that spends too much time on Skipper’s flying lessons and not enough on the character’s relationships characters prevents “Planes” from flying high.

Let’s hope this ends the trend of talking vehicle movies. The unholy trinity of anthropomorphized vehicles—planes, trains and automobiles—should be grounded, permanently.

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