If you walk into pretty much any store in the world, you'll find at least one piece of Cars-related merchandise. As with Angry Birds, there are Cars products everywhere you look these days, and the execs at Disney are delighted with the truckloads of cash that John Lasseter's creation has been raking in since 2006. So naturally, they would take advantage of this new-found goldmine, and what better way to milk it than with a direct-to-video spin-off?
Of course, said direct-to-video spin-off is no longer going direct-to-video, it's flying straight into theaters (pun shamelessly intended). Disney's Planes is being produced by DisneyToon Studios, the studio behind the Tinker Bell movies and all other Disney DTV sequels, and hits theaters August 9.
Given that these DTV films are usually hit-or-miss and are rarely any good, ever since Planes was announced I haven't been too keen on it. The plot seemed bland and uninspired and never grabbed my attention, and the whole thing was obviously just an excuse to make new toys, backpacks, t-shirts, eating utensils, shoes, stickers, cupcake holders, night lights, bathroom curtains and whatever else they can come up with featuring a colorful new cast of anthropomorphic aircraft. Simply put, Planes came across as a cheap cash grab.
However, as Disney begins to drop a bit more details on the movie and reveal some more images, I'm becoming less skeptical towards it. If in anything, Planes will succeed in the visual department; a lot of the characters that have been revealed are undeniably cool, and the film in general sure looks like it boasts some impressive eye candy.
But I also think (or hope) that if the film was given a theatrical release then it must have been above the standard for your typical DTV fare. Either that or the execs just wanted to raise awareness that they're making this new movie, and a billion new toys to go with it. Even if the latter is true, I'm trying to keep an open mind. After all, not all of DisneyToon's films have been complete disasters, this could very well be one of those exceptions. Perhaps the artists and filmmakers at DisneyToon are not quite as skilled as those over in Emeryville (at least not as of now), but who says they don't have it in them to get there? Plus, an early review has already surfaced online and according to The Rotoscopers, Planes is not the horrible catastrophe that many of us are making it out to be - it's actually pretty decent.
Like I said, I'm keeping an open mind, and may actually consider paying to see the film in theaters. The way I see it, Planes looks like it has the potential to be an enjoyable flick and not just a wallet-emptying device.