August’s animated feature “Planes” is kind of an odd duck. The world of “Planes” was introduced in a "Cars"-based Pixar short film called “Air Mater,” which literally ends with tow truck Tow Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) looking into the camera and saying something like, “Boy, someone should make a movie based on this.” (The short and feature also share at least one character.) The movie has a number of Pixar hallmarks (including a cameo from John Ratzenberger and an executive producer credit for Pixar bigwig John Lasseter), and is being advertised as “From the World Above ‘Cars,’ ” but the Pixar name is nowhere to be found on the finished film, and DisneyToon Studios handled the animation duties, which are stylistically incredibly similar to the work Pixar did on “Cars.” As you can see, it’s all very confusing. But hey! There’s a new clip! And it at least establishes that “Planes” is going to be very, very pretty. And maybe a little offensive.
The plot of “Planes” concerns Dusty (Dane Cook, who stepped in for Jon Cryer at the last minute), a crop-dusting plane who dreams of being an air racer. Of course, he isn’t designed for speed and is afraid of heights. The movie has an impressive voice cast that includes Stacy Keach, Pixar alum Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (another Pixar alum), and Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards, who are essentially playing their characters from “Top Gun”—in plane-form.
The new clip, courtesy of Coming Soon, shows a pair of characters—a British airplane named Bulldog voiced by John Cleese and a Mexican plane called El Chupacabra, dressed like a luchador, voiced by Carlos Alazraqui, who is perhaps best known for being the voice of the “Yo guiero Taco Bell” chihuahua. The scene is brief and just shows the two planes squabbling, and while the representation of the Mexican plane is somewhat questionable, the animation is lush and gorgeous. You can see why “Planes,” originally intended for a direct-to-video release, got upgraded to a 3D theatrical bow. There’s even a sequel in the works, “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” for next summer.
“Planes” probably isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it could be a nice little late-summer diversion, like a popsicle on a hot day. And at the very least it’ll be better than “Turbo.” “Planes” is out on August 9th.