Genre: Adventure, Underdog, Children's, Racing, Animation
My Rating: ***
Official Rating: PG
Age Group: 8+
"I just want to be more than what I was made for," Dusty Crophopper claims. Indeed. Stuck dusting crops for life, he dreams of racing other planes across the world. When he gets the chance to do just that, he takes it. In a race against time, against other planes, through dangerous courses and threatening elements, and his own fear of heights, Dusty has his work cut out for him. Can he win? Scratch that. Can he survive?
Word of Warning:
- The catchphrase above, but more on that later.
- Dusty's mentor lies to him and he is hurt by this.
- Various planes crash, though we don't really see anything graphic (except when planes are being shot out of the sky during a war). One plane is blinded and nearly crashes, but Dusty saves him. Others spin out of control and disappear.
- Dusty ends up in a terrible storm over the ocean and essentially drowns. He's pulled out and we see he's battered (wings in bad shape, "nose," tailfin, etc).
- Dusty's Mexican friend is head over heels in love with a plane who doesn't pay any attention to him whatsoever--until Dusty gives him a pointer (he's got to be smooth and gentle). Then the guy can't get rid of her! So much so that we see lipstick marks all over his body (he's a plane, remember, so it's not nearly as nasty as it sounds).
- Dusty falls for a different girl who betrays him, repents, and eventually ends up with him, so to speak (all we know is that they're happy and on good terms again).
- Typical current champ has henchmen who sabotage Dusty (the rookie) in an attempt to make him fail.
- There's a rumor that the henchmen (twins) were one plane and separated at birth. Though how planes are born is anybody's guess.
- Some name calling (moron and others). Nothing major and no swear words.
- Dusty's Mexican friend mutters Spanish to his love, and she responds in French (she's Canadian). They clearly don't understand each other, and unfortunately my Spanish isn't fast enough to translate, nor do I know any French, so I have no idea what they actually said.
- Female planes are ogled, particularly their rudders (is that the right term?) on the wings as they are moved up and down.
- One plane is disqualified after illegal fuel is found in his tank. It's quite clear that the illegal fuel is a lot like a drug of sorts (and we've heard far too much about those and sports).
- Outhouses (with cars in them) are overturned, spraying oil everywhere. We see one car look a bit shocked when the outhouse above him disappears, then go back to his newspaper.
- Dusty flies through a train tunnel and almost collides with an oncoming train. We find out later that the incident was set up by the "bad guy".
It's a fun story, an underdog story. Dusty comes from the very lowest place he could (or so we're convinced) and takes on the world with a charming lack of experience. He's naïve, pure and simple, and it's fun. Until he starts to get things down, and then he stoops to poking fun at the current champion. Just because the guy's a jerk doesn't mean the hero needs to go that low.
This is a repeat of Cars, it really is. I took my younger sister, and she commented that the "bad guy" in this movie was green, just like the "bad guy" in the other one. Right on, sis. And the similarities just don't stop there. So what, right? It's a nice story. Everybody likes a good tale about a guy who rises from the ashes, takes the title, and gets the girl. Retelling that story in the world of Cars, with planes as the main characters, well, that just adds to the fun. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the movie. It was fun and there weren't nearly as many inappropriate comments as usual in Disney's children's movies.
But what about that catchphrase. At first, I loved the sound of it. The idea of becoming more is appealing to everyone, isn't it? But then I stepped back and thought about it. Looking at this from a Catholic perspective, the idea of being more than one is made for is just crazy. God created each of us for a purpose, someone specific to each person. Why would we need to be "more"? Is that even possible?
I leave you with a quote:
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
Each of us is loved,
Each of us is necessary.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
With that backing us up, what more could we possibly want?