909The much anticipated movie Planes debuted in theatres across North America in August 2013. Although a spin-off of Pixar’s mega-hit trilogy Cars; Pixar did not actually produce the film. Instead, with Pixar being a conglomerate of Disney’s, the 3D animated comedy was produced by DisneyToon Studios and, as with most DisneyToon movies, it was slated for direct-to-video release in North America.

However, when Disney viewed completed sequences of the film they were so impressed that the film was switched to theatrical release, making Planes the first DisneyToon Studios theatrical release in North America since Pooh’s Heffalump Movie released in 2005. Although the film wasn’t produced by Pixar, John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and director of Cars and Cars 2, acted as executive producer of Planes.

The official Planes website describes the film as, “The world of Cars takes flight in Planes, Disney’s high-flying animated comedy revved up with action and adventure.” On opening weekend it landed #3 at the box office. Despite grand expectations from Cars fans it was generally not met with favorable reviews. Many indicated that if the intention of having Lasseter at the helm was to keep Planes true to the spirit of Pixar films, it missed the mark, lacking the depth, pace, and quick-wit viewers have come to expect from Pixar quality films.

The film follows Dusty, a small town plane, who dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. There’s just one problem: he’s not built for racing and he’s afraid of heights! With the help of veteran aviator Skipper Riley, they prepare to take on Ripslinger, the defending champ of the villainous racing circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the test when he reaches heights he never thought possible.

The celebrity voice-over cast features:

• Val Kilmer as Echo
• Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Rochelle
• Teri Hatcher as Dottie
• Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper
• Anthony Edwards as Bravo
• Priyanka Chopra as Ishani
• John Cleese as Bulldog
• Brad Garrett as Chug
• Gabriel Iglesias as Ned / Zed
• Stacy Keach as Skipper
• Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom
• Sinbad as Roper
• Roger Craig Smith as Ripslinger
• Carlos Alazraqui as El Chupacabra
• Brent Musburger as Himself

In celebration of National Aviation History Month Disney is releasing Planes on DVD and Blue-ray for home-theaters on November 19, 2013. “Planes,” the first in a planned trilogy, will see a sequel to follow in 2014, titled Planes: Fire & Rescue.

Will Disney take the sequel to new heights? Time will tell.

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