After the highly successful Cars, which led to a blitzkrieg of merchandising and a less successful sequel, Disney has expanded its wingspan to airplanes. In director Klay Hall’s animated film, a modest crop-duster has lofty dreams of circumnavigating the globe in a race of the finest and most skilled aircrafts. Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) believes he is destined for greater things besides spraying crop fields.
After duty, he trains to be a racing plane. In his team are his trucker friend Chug (Brad Garrett), tractor/ mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher) and Skipper (Stacy Keach), a retired Air Force fighter. Together they are the wind beneath his wings and the additional horsepower he needs to qualify for and take on the best planes in the world. Among his competitors are the unethical champ Ripslinger, Mexican Casanova El Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui), French beauty Rochelle (Julia Louis-Drefus) and champion of the Mumbai skies Ishani (Priyanka Chopra).
This Indian angle to Planes provides a little amusement for audiences here as the round the world race passes through India and charts a course through the Himalayas. Chopra’s demure Ishani and Dusty become friends, flying across the Northern plains, over the Taj Mahal as A.R. Rahman’s ‘Tere bina’ from Guru.
The plot is predictable as the underdog fights all kinds of odds to rise above his limitations to appear triumphant. The planes are designed with human features like mouths and eyes; even wings that work like arms at times and their gadgets are recognizable mod cons like a ‘skypad’ (for iPad) and they watch ‘Flewtube’. But all this cuteness does not lift Planes above the ordinary leaving you strapped in but never really soaring.