Without purpose life would be a continuous cycle of sleeping, eating, working and repeating it all over day after day. This procedure becomes automatic with the absence of thought, similar to being a robot. There is a price one pays when they fall into this mode. The synapses of their brain curl and wither like gnarled arthritic hands, losing movement as they become frozen in one pointless position. Purpose is what adds new colorful landscaped roads to the continual construction site of the mind. These roads can lead one to uncharted territories that spark and reveal a new concept or idea that adds fuel to one’s journey in life. One of the reasons why I decided to become a fitness instructor was due to how I was treated in phys ed classes. Not being athletically inclined, I yearned for a gym class where everyone would be treated equally; no one would be made to feel inadequate or be the butt of cruel jokes. I had a good pitching arm back then but no one looked beyond my physical girth. From that time I found a purpose that put me on my life’s path and continues to bring me unlimited joy as a fitness and yoga instructor. THIS animated adventure film offered a similar message. Dane Cook (Mr. Brooks, Dan in Real Life) voiced the character Dusty Crophopper, a world class champion racer. Discovering he had an engine problem that could end his racing career, Dusty decided to join the aerial firefighter squadron led by Blade Ranger, voiced by Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind, The Abyss). The major challenge facing Dusty would be to see if his engine could withstand the extensive training required for the job. Visually, this movie was fun to watch with its sense of depth and variety of airplane models, but there was nothing I would consider groundbreaking. The majority of actors voicing the characters were fine in their roles, There were really no standouts except for Fred Willard (Ira & Abby, Anchorman franchise) as the Secretary of the Interior. Though this picture was listed as a comedy, the humor would only appease young children. I found the puns old and corny, not able to recall uttering a single chuckle. The biggest issue I had with this film was its lack of creativity. It was so formulaic and stereotypical that my overall feeling towards this movie was one of tiredness. I think this could have easily been released straight to DVD, there was a blandness to the whole thing. It was such a shame, because the message it was trying to convey was certainly a positive one that shined a light on a noble profession.
Looking down at the rolling landscape below from my small window, I kept waiting for the dotted lines to appear between each state. I wanted to know the exact moment when the airplane would cross over into a new state. To prepare for my very first flight on an airplane many years ago, I studied a map of the United States. Once we were airborne I was expecting to see the same outline of each state that was on my map. Though I was disappointed they were not there, it did not last long since I was already falling in love with flying. From that momentary push back into my seat during takeoff, to rising above patches of white puffy clouds that looked like huge vanilla ice cream sundaes; I would forever be hooked into traveling by airplane. As you might imagine, I was looking forward to seeing this animated movie about planes. Crop dusting plane Dusty Crophopper, voiced by Dane Cook (Employee of the Month), had a dream to enter a prestigious international aerial race. There was only one problem; he was afraid of heights. How would he reach his dream if he could not fly the race’s flight pattern? The first thing to note about this film was the excellent computer animation. There was a good assortment of voices used for various characters; such as Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond-TV) as Chug, Stacy Keach (American History X, The Bourne Legacy) as Skipper and Terri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives-TV) as Dottie. The next thing I noticed was the audience sitting around me. The first time I heard children laughing at a scene was 40 minutes into the movie. As for myself, I did not find anything funny. The story was not only generic, but it looked like one long advertisement for toys to be sold to kids. Ironically the day I viewed this film was the same day the sale papers came out, where I found pages of toys and games based on characters in this film. From the movie studio that brought us such wonderful animated movies, this one was a major disappointment. There was nothing fun or exciting as far as I could tell. For a film about airplanes, this one never took off the ground. No need to stay through the credits; at the very end it just told us a sequel would be coming. Thanks for the warning.
1 3/4 stars