I was one of many who had absolutely no interest in Planes. Planes, in case you don't know, is a feature-length spin-off of the Cars franchise that was produced by DisneyToon Studios; the same animation studio who produced the direct-to-video Disney sequels including the Tinker Bell films. Of course, this was commissioned because the Cars franchise is massive. Of course Disney would want to expand on that... What better way to do that than with aircraft?
Early on, I didn't mind that this film was being made. After all, it wasn't being made by Pixar and it was going straight to home media. If Pixar was making it, then I'd be a bit concerned. But then last year, Disney announced that the film was going to get a theatrical release. I wasn't pleased... Direct-to-video product in cinemas? Bad idea. Plus, since a lot of people can't tell what studio made what, people will think it's a Pixar film and if it's a bad film... Then it would only further all the "Pixar is dying" hoopla. Cars 2 being poorly received and Brave's reception was enough...
I was not okay with any of this... That was until Morgan Stradling of The Rotoscopers reviewed the film, as she had seen a test screening of the film... Apparently it's a pretty decent film!
Yes, you heard that right... A decent film...
Now this doesn't completely change my mind about the film. I'll probably skip it, seeing that it's still a cash grab that's more for the kids than us adults. But after reading the review, I'm thinking that John Lasseter really made sure that this film would be no clunker. Remember, Cars is his baby. He's in love with this universe and idea since he's a car nut. There's nothing wrong with that, and again, I'm one of the few who doesn't consider Cars 2 a horrible film, not even a mediocre one. Lasseter gets a lot of flack for this franchise, but I'm actually glad that he's involved with a film like this.
Why's that? Well Lasseter put the kibosh on the direct-to-video sequels, saving us from monstrosities like The Aristocats II and Dumbo II. But the Tinker Bell franchise got a huge start with the first film in the series, so they inevitably had to make more. I have not seen any of the Tinker Bell films nor do I want to, but I hear that they are a significant cut above all of the previous direct-to-video sequels. Apparently he wants them to be good enough, despite the fact that they are direct-to-video products that are aimed at children more than anything.
Also, since this is part of the world of Cars, it would make sense that Lasseter would be heavily involved. Now you may say, "But Cars 2 was bad." Well, as I said in my defense of Pixar, I think that most of Cars 2's problems were there from the beginning before Lasseter came on board... And if you ask me, I think he may have been too late. Lasseter replaced original director Brad Lewis in 2010, when the film was already being animated! I don't think that he had enough time to improve the story... This sort of thing needs to happen before production begins on the film! Ratatouille, anyone? Also, he directed the film from an iPad. So he had very little time to "improve" the film and he could only do it via technology. This is why I think Cars 2 is the problematic film that it is.
Anyways, maybe Lasseter put some passion and effort into this project? Maybe he made sure that it was more than just a cash grab... Who knows, but this review is a good sign... But we don't know how other critics will react to the film.
None of this means that I'm all in support of the film. I'm just glad that it isn't a Pixar production, because the franchise can still make Disney happy without having the Emeryville folks involved. Pixar can continue doing what they want to do, while Disney can have other outlets continue the Cars (or pretty soon, Autos) franchise. But do they need to come to theaters? Personally, I think this should be the only one and all future spin-offs should go straight to home media.
Let's just put it this way... I'm conflicted on all of this. Sure this will come, make money and please fans and children. Pixar didn't work on it, so animation fans need not worry about the studio's future or image... But I just hope that the non-Pixar side of this franchise doesn't become a theatrical thing. It just doesn't sit right with me for some reason. However, after reading this review, I won't be surprised if the film happens to get anything better than the reception that Cars 2 received.
Are you okay with Planes being a theatrical release? Or not? Do you think that it could be a decent film? Or do you think it's going to be a disaster?
Sound off below!