Movie Review – Disney’s Planes




Official Synopsis

From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar.


Tomcat says – it’s a fun and light-hearted Disney movie. Great for kids and also good for adults who’d like to watch a movie that doesn’t contain violence/ sex/ horror, etc. etc. I would have liked to see some cameos from Disney’s Cars though.




Getting Real


ALL IN THE FAMILY – Director Klay Hall is a lifelong aviation enthusiast who comes from a long line of aviation enthusiasts. Hall’s father was a pilot in the Navy and his grandfather also took to the skies as a pilot.


NOW HEAR THIS – To bolster the authenticity of the flight scenes, the production team recorded real-life planes, including crop dusters for Dusty, some old bi-planes, a twin engine aircraft and Navy F-18s for the scene that features fighter jets Echo and Bravo.


MAP IT OUT – Filmmakers consulted with real pilots to determine the Wings Around The Globe race course, considering the planes’ need to refuel as well as the appeal of the locales.


COMFORT ZONE – Filmmakers utilize moviemaking magic to underscore the story. For example, stereoscopic supervisor Jason Carter says that close-ups of Dusty—the protagonist—are strategically placed a bit closer to the audience than close-ups of his adversary Ripslinger. The idea, says Carter, is to subtly invite the audience into Dusty’s inner circle, while keeping Ripslinger at arm’s length—literally.


DEFINE FEAR – To ensure authenticity in the story, filmmakers consulted a phobia specialist to zero in on Dusty’s fear of heights. Not only did they learn how acrophobia might manifest itself in Dusty’s actions—sweating, dizziness—they got tips on how to help the crop duster overcome his fear.



Building Character


IS IT A PLANE? – Many of the airplane designs in “Disney’s Planes” are completely fictional and some are inspired (in part) by a number of planes.

  • Dusty, for example, was inspired by the Air Tractor 502, Cessna and the Air Dromader.

There are two designs based solely on actual planes.

  • Seasoned Navy vet Skipper is an F4U Corsair fighter plane, developed in 1938 at the request of the U.S. Navy and first utilized in WWII. The Corsair was considered the most powerful fighter-based aircraft in the world at the time and was the first U.S single-engine fighter to exceed 400 miles per hour in level flight. Recognized for its “W”-shaped wings, the Corsair’s small body and powerful engine created a highly successful warfare weapon.
  • El Chupacabra, known in “Disney’s Planes” for his dashing personality, sports the design of a Gee Bee, an aircraft that dates back to the early days of air racing. Designed by Granville Brothers Aircraft in the early 1930s, the Gee Bee planes were built with a teardrop-shaped fuselage in an effort to reduce drag and enable knife-edge turns without losing altitude. 


MEET CHUG – Filmmakers traveled to Leaders Clear Lake Airport in Minnesota while touring regional airports in the Midwest for inspiration for their Propwash Junction setting. Hidden in a grove of evergreen trees was the charming, but rickety inspiration for Chug, the enthusiastic fuel truck who’s not only Dusty’s buddy, but his biggest fan.



Talent Tidbits


FAMILY TIES – While actress Teri Hatcher was lending her voice to Dottie—the pragmatic mechanic who keeps a watchful eye on Dusty—daughter Emerson, age 15, stepped in to voice a reporter pitty in the film.


THAT SOUNDS SO FAMILIAR – John Ratzenberger, who’s lent his voice to some of animation’s most memorable characters, has a cameo in “Disney’s Planes” as a pitty.


REUNITED – “Top Gun” stars Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer have a high-flying reunion of sorts in “Disney’s Planes” as fighter jets Echo and Bravo, respectively.

For more information, head over to




“Disney’s Planes” opens in Malaysia cinemas on 15 August 2013.


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About Tim Chew

Managing Editor and Founder of MHB Digital - More than 15 years of media, marketing, and management experience with various media owners and publishers.

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