On Monday night I attended the world premier of Disney’s Planes at the El Capitan theater on Hollywood Boulevard. *jazz hands* It was my first ever red carpet premiere and if you were to ask me on Sunday what a red carpet premiere involved it would be a red carpet, paparazzi, and celebrity sightings.
Target had an entire airplane hangar set up on Hollywood Boulevard, each one with a different treat or game — like fishing for planes or flight simulators. At the end of each game you could win Planes merchandise from Target. There were plenty of photo opportunities, an enormous bounce house/slide and a whole lot of fancy people having a fancy good time.
There were also airplanes made out of balloons and air traffic controllers on stilts juggling orange cones. Oh, Disney.
The El Capitan theater is beautiful — everything you’d expect an old theater to be. There was a man playing Disney songs on a giant old organ and WHOO was he good. SO GOOD. (I’m trying to find out who he is so I can film a documentary about him. Kidding. (not really) Have you ever seen someone play a really big organ? Where their feet, hands and fingers all work separate from each other? Impressive.)
Cedric the Entertainer gave me an eyebrows up smile, the little kids from Jessie were charming, I talked to John Ratzenburger about popcorn, Peter Facinelli is more attractive as a vampire, Teri Hatcher has really nice shoulders, and Dane Cook is tall.
It’s always fun watching a new movie with a bunch of people for the first time together.
Planes was no exception.
ButI feel like there are a few things you need to know before you see it.
Most importantly, your kids will like it and most likely love it.
However, as a parent/friend/guardian/grandparent/adult you should know that Planes was originally meant to be a straight to DVD release. There is a specific Disney Studio (DisneyToon) where straight to DVD movies and some smaller theatrical release movies are handled. DisneyToon was the studio in charge of Planes. I only say this because as a loyal Disney movie fan it was strange to see the DisneyToon logo, like, I was missing something?
Also, perhaps you noticed that Planes was touted as “From the world above Cars” not as “From the creator of Cars,” because Pixar, who was in charge of Cars, wasn’t involved in Planes. It’s funny how a little wording can make such a difference.
The animation isn’t what loyal Pixar fans are used to, because it’s not Pixar. The jokes don’t have the same level of humor and the story (at least for the first half of the film) is Cars retold with planes. Every plane character has an equal car character and even the voice talent equivalent is similar (albeit slightly less famous.)
My first reaction was, “Well great, they’re just pushing a slightly average movie in an effort to sell merchandise.” And I felt a little uneasy about it.
Then I thought about Vivi at home who loves airplanes. She waves at them, sings to them, and gets excited whenever she hears them. Then I remembered how exciting it was for me as a kid to go to the movies. Then I thought about how much fun we’ve had taking our kids to the movies. While we still have family movie night at home every Sunday — it’s never as exciting as heading to the theater together, munching on popcorn, and staring up at an enormous screen.
The story is charming — it demonstrates kindness, honesty, bravery, patience and believing in yourself. There are some really funny parts, some touching moments and good lessons, which brings me to the merchandise. Kids are going to go home and play with their planes and emulate the characters they see in the movie. They’re going to imitate the scenarios in the movie with their other toys. You’re going to walk away being able to have a conversation with your kids about how kindness and friendship are more important than fame. If you’re really up for it you’ll be able to dig even deeper into shame, military service, cheating, betrayal and respecting other countries and cultures.
Is Planes up to the high standards we’ve all come to expect from a Disney/Pixar collaboration? No, but it’s not Pixar. Is it still up to the family friendly standards that we all expect from Disney? Absolutely. Will it inspire play and imagination in your children? Totally. Should you see it? If your kid is excited about it and you enjoy going to the movies together as a family, yes!
Once I knew the story behind the story, it made a lot more sense why the movie is the way it was. I hope knowing a little bit more makes the movie more enjoyable for you as the adult, instead of wondering “Why is this so different?” the whole time.