Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Disney's Planes Takes Off
Aviation buff and director Klay Hall brings adventure and realism to the screen
Planes is the story of an underdog crop duster airplane named Dusty, who has dreams of competing as an air racer. Unfortunately, Dusty is afraid of heights (crop dusters only fly low) and isn't built for speed. So, Dusty finds a gruff ex-Navy F4U Corsair and convinces him to be his instructor for an upcoming globe-crossing air race. All manner of adventure ensues as Dusty tries to "find himself" as an aviator.
"When we first started filming, the airplanes just looked like toys," said Hall during Plane & Pilot's visit to an early screening of the film. "We realized we were going to have to make everything more authentic." Hall explained that he and his team wanted to make the film completely believable for the aviation community. "We didn't want pilots looking at this and thinking, 'Ah, it's just a cartoon.'"
Planes director Klay Hall and producer Traci Balthazor-Flynn visited the USS Carl Vinson as part of their research efforts.
The crew went on scouting trips to tiny airfields in the Midwest to capture the correct feel of these places. They spoke with World War II pilots about the F4U used in the film, and interviewed pilots and ground crew to gather as much accurate data as they could. Filmmakers recruited Jason McKinley to serve as the "Flight Specialist" for the film. McKinley directed the Dogfights series for the History Channel on TV and did extensive research into the physics of flight, applying that knowledge to some 800 flight shots in Planes.
The film is a collaboration of some 500 people that touches everyone—aviator or not—and achieves that rare balance of fun, adventure, a positive message and heart-pounding aerial footage.