Planes –Movie Review

The idea of someone dreaming of doing something greater than he (or she) seems cut out for certainly isn’t a new one.  In fact, it’s not even particularly fresh this summer, as Hollywood just gave us Turbo, the movie about a snail who wanted to race the cars in the Indy 500.  Now in Planes we get a crop-duster “Dusty” who wants to race (since we are already recycling themes…) against racing planes.  He’s not quite as obviously misfit as the snail, he is at least a plane after all, but the similarities are hard to miss.  The big difference is that, for Turbo, outside help was required.  He needed a fresh infusion of power to accomplish his dreams.  (See more on that in this article!)

In Planes, Dusty doesn’t need extra power, but he does need to refine his skill and train.  The real “power” for Dusty comes from his character.  The racing world is a cut-throat world.  Dusty is met with a lot of hostility, but he continues to be kind and to do what’s right for his fellow man… make that plane…even to the point of sacrificing his position in the race and coming in last on a particular leg to rescue another plane (one who had been particularly unkind to Dusty) who was in dire trouble.

Dusty acted much like the Good Samaritan in this moment.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was:  ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’  But… the good Samaritan reversed the question:  ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”    This could be said of Dusty and the other planes.  While the one plane was going down and needed help, the other planes were busy questioning what would happen to them, to their lead, to the race, if they stopped to help.  Dusty simply asked what will happen to this plane if I don’t help?  His focus was on the other planes’ needs, not his own.

The Bible says that we ought to “look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of me (Philippians 2:4-7).  Just as it also says that we ought to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) which is the second greatest commandment.  Dusty does a great job of illustrating these principles.

Dusty works hard and does his best; he does right by others, but still he finds that it’s not good enough.  The bad guys played dirty and sabotaged him and he ended up sunk in the ocean, unable to finish that leg of the race, unable to even save himself….and yet, he found himself rescued.  Did you know that the Bible says that our righteousness goes before us, and God’s glory is our rear guard (Isaiah 58:8)?  That’s what happened for Dusty.  His righteousness went before him, and God’s glory got his back.  Well, ok, God’s not mentioned, but you can see the principle played out just the same.

It was Dusty’s righteousness that endeared others to him.  He made true friends by his selfless acts and genuine care for the wellbeing of his fellow planes.  So, when he was in need, they came to his rescue.  Not only did they pull him out of the water, but they also gave him the new parts he needed to repair his damaged body.  As he rejoined the race, he again was attacked by a malicious plane, but his mentor (definitely not God, but a father figure, at least) showed up and literally “got his back”.  His mentor guarded his rear.  He protected him so that Dusty could fly unhindered.

Of course Dusty won.

I love the combination of Turbo and Planes because they each show two very important sides to the picture.  God often calls us to things that are far bigger than we can accomplish on our own, and we need an infusion of God’s power to make it happen.  (Turbo illustrates this idea very well.)  But along with that infusion of power, there is still a lot that is up to us—not only the hard work and discipline, but also the character kinds of things.  Our righteousness is critical.  It goes before us in ways we cannot understand.  No matter how great the vision in front of us, we have to remember that it’s never bigger than the people in front of us.  God calls us to love our neighbor as ourself, even if it means sacrificing our vision for our neighbor in need.  So often we will find that doing that becomes our very surprising means for success later.  And when all seems lost, when we have done all we can do, all that is right, lived as rightly as possible and that hasn’t been enough, we need to remember that God’s glory is our rear guard.  We can rest knowing God’s got our back.

Questions for Discussion:  

  • Have you ever been in a situation like Dusty and had to sacrifice something you wanted to help someone in need?  What happened?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where your righteousness went before you?  (Have you been in a place where you sacrificed for someone else, but later you received a blessing for doing that?)
  • Have you ever had a time where God got your back?  Where He was your rear guard?  Explain.

by Stacey Tuttle