Dusty Crophopper is a little cropduster plane with a fear of heights and a crazy dream of being a racer. While his friends need convincing, Dusty gets the training he needs from Skipper, a veteran fighter, and qualifies for the Wings Across the World race. In the event, Dusty finds competitors who soon learn that there is something special about this underdog as he is tested to his physical and emotional limits. In doing so, Dusty soon finds enemies, and more importantly friends, who are inspired by his dream. In the face of all obstacles, the winner of this air race will be anyone's guess.
The movie will also make you believe that you’ve seen all this before, especially since the plot points are largely cut and pasted from the storyboards of Cars. It’s not so much homage to that earlier series as it is cheap knock-off — an accounting-driven exercise in brand extension with no real artistic impulses of its own. Though Pixar honcho John Lassiter is billed as the executive producer, this is a purely Disney product, and one originally intended as direct-to-DVD fodder, until someone saw a hole in the theatrical release calendar.
Funnyman Cook is given absolutely nothing funny to say, and even the skilled support staff, including John Cleese, Stacy Keach, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Brad Garrett, only manages to produce a few smiles. There is something lyrical in all this soaring and zipping through the clouds, but Klay Hall directs like he’s got somewhere else to be, and when it comes time to reach higher and create any real emotional connection, this lemon flatly chokes out.