LOS ANGELES: For a film once slated to go straight to DVD, Disney's animated adventure Planes has some lofty ambitions: it not only wants to be a worthy spin-off of the Cars franchise, it also aspires to tell a global story.
Out in US theatres on Friday, Planes portrays a fleet of aircraft that is as loveable as the automobiles in Cars, an underdog story of Dusty Crophopper who aspires to win the air racing championship that challenges contenders to fly around the globe.
The modest crop duster faces two problems, sizable ones at that: he's not built for racing and he is terrified of great heights.
With all odds seemingly against him, Dusty trains with veteran naval plane Skipper and qualifies for the race. In his journey, Dusty befriends other racers such as El Chupacabra, a Mexican plane with mannerism and dress of a luchador wrestler, and Ishani, an exotic plane from India.
"I thought it would be a great opportunity to throw this hurdle at Dusty, who is a small-town American guy, and actually get him out there to experience the world with all these different cultures and ethnicities and colors and sights," Planes director Klay Hall told Reuters.
The film features voice actors including Dane Cook, Teri Hatcher and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but to tap into the global scope of the story, Hall brought on veteran British actor John Cleese as Bulldog, the oldest racing contender, and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra to play Ishani.
In one scene, Chopra's character Ishani flies over India's Taj Mahal with Dusty and says, "I have a billion fans and I can't disappoint them." Hall said that Chopra's own background as a Bollywood celebrity helped bring authenticity to Ishani.
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