If either of them could write, I would have my two grand-nephews review “Planes.” There are other ways of communicating however with which they are familiar thereby reviewing by their behavior the movie: “Planes”. They had been begging to see “Planes” since they saw its previews three weeks earlier at our viewing of the film “Turbo.” For the first 15 minutes in the theater, they were glued to the screen along with about 600 other children between 4 and 10 years of age. I was the oldest person in the theater! It was the preview time however, and I was amazed at how many animated moves will soon be available for them to see. (What ever happened to real human actors?) As the previews went on and on, the murmuring in the audience increased. “Oh, I’ve got see that one!: said the older of the two sitting next to me. “I can’t wait!” shouted the younger one who has not developed the skill of whispering. Finally, the latest of the computer animated films and the third I have seen in the last six weeks flashed on the screen: PLANES!

The young reviewers beside me did well for about 20 minutes, then the older needed his box of “Dots” opened. Five minutes later, the younger one demanded that his brother stop eating his “Swizzlers.” Back to the screen they went as I calmed things, but only for about 15 minutes when the younger one announced for everyone within three rows to know that he had to “GO! NOW!” Up and out we went, and I wanted to go further than the men’s room; but with that emergency settled, we went back to PLANES. They fidgeted and wiggled. They poked each other and had to be separated. Twice I asked if they wanted to go home, and the only response I got was, “Can we get something to drink?” “I’d like to have something to drink.” I thought to myself, an adult beverage at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

As the action heated up and the race was finally up, up, and away, the theater quieted down for the long finale. On the way to the car and then to the yogurt bar, the five year old said, “It’s just cars all over again, except it was planes.” “Same voices too.” said his older brother. I thought it was like “Turbo” I observed, and they said, “Yeah. I want sprinkles on my yogurt.” With that, PLANES was history until the next day when they spotted some toys reproducing the computer generated planes in the film. They wanted me to buy them, and I suggested we get a couple of boxes of “DOTS”. They thought that would be better, but then they fought all the way home over the red ones.

Snails racing, Cars racing, Planes racing. What’s next? Trains? Probably so, since it no longer seems to be about the story (David and Goliath which might be better read from the Bible). It’s about selling toys: cars, planes, snails, and whatever Disney can think up next to market more junk. I’m sure the boys got the story line from “Cars” which they have seen at home 25 times, and from “Turbo” which I refused to buy for them in the Blue Ray format! How many times do you tell a kid that losers can be winners? How many times do they have to be subjected to the suggestion that they can do anything they want to if they just try hard enough and never give up? I’m no child psychologist, but I wonder just what we are doing to their fragile ego and dreams. After a summer of Cars, Snails, and Planes, I’m beginning to think it’s some kind of brain-washing or water torture designed to turn these young victims into over-achievers who never learn how to accept defeat or acknowledge failure.

The whole adventure cost me $20 plus the candy and the yogurt with sprinkles on the way home. This film is a cheap imitation of an earlier telling of an old story: “You can do anything if you try.” In the seventh decade of my life, I want to shout: “NOT!” But on a late summer afternoon. watching the results of computer animated talking airplanes that flirt, dance, and imitate ethnic accents, I found myself in need of a nap in the hammock out on the deck while the boys continued to fight over the red Dots. My suggestion after seeing “Planes” is that you simply put a wager on whether or not the next sequel is “Trains” or “Buses”. Maybe when school gets started, the later choice will move to the front of the line. Hold hands when you cross the street. Cars was better. Turbo was snatched up by a hungry crow, while Planes crashed on take off.

Father Tom Boyer