[color=rgb(0,0,255);]What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.[/color]
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: November 19, 2013
Audio: DTS 7.1 HD-MA
Running Time: 91 minutes
[color=rgb(0,0,205);]On A Scale 0-5[/color]
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3
3D Separation: 3
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 0
I would advise caution to anyone with high expectations for PLANES, Disney's
latest animated effort that attempts to ride the coattails of the CARS franchise.
First, you will notice the fact that I mentioned this was a Disney film -- not Pixar.
It doesn't take long for one to see that many of the signature elements that make
a Pixar film what it is are mostly missing here. Secondly, it turns out that PLANES
was conceived as a direct-to-video release and somewhere along the way, the
decision was made to release it theatrically. Quite frankly, it's a bit sad to see Disney
has milked the franchise with this release at the expense of movie-going patrons
expecting something better.
PLANES takes place in the same similar universe as CARS. Though it's a world
void of humans, the film pokes fun at many man-made landmarks. As the story
opens we meet Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a Midwestern crop-duster who
may be small on props, but very big on guts. You see, he dreams of one day
becoming a racer and joining the elite who are flying in the Wings Around The
World race. In the type of underdog story we have seen countless times before,
Dusty enlists the help of Skipper (Stacy Keach), a gruff WWII navy war veteran
who helps the brave little plane overcome his fears and prepare for the big race.
Despite this being an animated adventure that takes its viewers racing around
the world to exotic places, PLANES never allows most minds to go off of auto-pilot.
All the elements that Pixar would have brought to the table to make this film more
engaging are completely missing. Instead we have an all-too-familiar story filled
with clichéd characters and lame jokes that will probably go over the heads of its
targeted juvenile audience.
PLANES looks outstanding on Blu-ray. Created entirely in the digital realm, this is
the kind of flawless transfer you expect to see from an animated feature like this.
This picture-perfect window allows viewers to appreciate the sharp imaging and
array of warm, glowing colors. I even took notice of the deep level of blacks within
some of the propellors. The only unfortunate thing to say about this great transfer
is that the animation seems dumbed down to its basics, giving us so much less to
absorb in keep our interests alive.
If I could have given a piece of advice to Disney about marketing this lackluster
spin-off, it would have been to push the envelope as far as the 3D presentation is
concerned. I have seen plenty of bad movies suddenly turn into something worthwhile
all because of its stellar 3D presentation. Sadly, PLANES stays mostly grounded in
3D, giving a decent perception of depth but with no pop-out whatsoever. I sat grumbling
in my seat as I watched many missed opportunities for the filmmakers to have greatly
enhanced certain elements of the film including falling snow, rain and confetti that stay
completely within the confines of the screen. There are two sequences that come near
the end of the film that look pretty decent in 3D: A storm at sea with pouring rain and
mounting waves that Dusty must overcome -and- a race over desert canyons that is sort
of reminiscent of the pod scene in Star Wars Episode I. Still, overall, it seems that
everything about the 3D presentation is paint-by numbers. When are Disney animators
going to learn that there is more to this format than just depth? Give audiences something
extra for the money you are charging them to see flops like this. I would thrown every 3D
gimmick I could into this film just to give people something positive to talk about afterwards.
The most noteworthy points I can give to PLANES is its 7.1 DTS-MA soundtrack (which
has been downconverted to 5.1 on my system). This is a very aggressive mix with lively
surround activity that remains constant throughout the film. From the film's opening credits
you get the sense of the power this soundtrack provides and the amount of LFE thrust behind
it all. Composer Mark Mancina provides quite a bit of punch with the film's orchestration that
covers a wide range of genres including rock, hip-hop, metal and samba. With the seemingly
constant roar of jet engines laid on top of that, there is no need for caffeine to keep one awake.
I personally enjoyed the excessive use of multi-channel conversation that have voices moving
across the room, giving the viewer a better sense of character positioning. In all, the most
impressive part of this film seems to be its sound mix and its the one thing that will probably
keep adults most engaged.
Planes arrives as a 3-Disc Combo (Blu-Ray 3D+Blu-Ray+DVD/Digital Copy) with a non-
lenticular cardboard sleeve. It should be no surprise that the extra features are a bit sparse
and include deleted scenes and other featurettes that are geared more towards the kids than
giving any insight into the making of the film itself.
What more can be said about Disney's efforts to cheaply capitalize on Pixar's Cars
franchise in making a theatrical release out of direct-to-video material? There is nothing
about PLANES that will appeal to adults -- note even its inclusion of 3D that provides little
else than a sense of depth. This is a purchase one should only consider for young kids, and
even as such, don't even bother spending the extra money for the 3D.
[color=rgb(128,0,0);]Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. [/color]
[color=rgb(24,24,24);font-family:verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:13px;]Equipment[/color]
Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer