El Chu and Some Other Planes

As a parent, you remember the first time you took your #NOCsintraining to see their first movie. Isabella’s was Kung Fu Panda. Giselle’s was Kung Fu Panda 2. Well, it was their little brother’s turn, and we were honestly apprehensive about the situation. Santi cannot sit still for more than 20 minutes, so we needed to find something that would boost his interest.

Santi's first movie
Santi’s watching his first movie.

The Disney film Mater’s Tall Tales was a huge hit in our household, especially with Santiago, our 2-year-old. So when we found the short film at the end of Cars 2 about “Air Mater” all that Santiago could say for weeks was “Again! Please!”

With that in mind, we settled on Planes to watch. The nerd in me, researched characters and plot before we went to see it. Everyone was excited because this was supposed to be the next in the Cars series, but I was intrigued with one character, El Chupacabra.

No folks, we are not dwelling into the topic of cryptozoology (my other passion). Instead, Pixar’s definition of El Chupacabra is that of a creature of mythical proportions that siphons your fuel. This video introduction of him pretty much lets you know what you are getting in to.

So we went to the movie theater and made it a family event; even auntie C tagged along. Santiago made it 45 minutes into the film before he made it known that he was done. Which meant that I spent the rest of the film chasing him outside the theater, playing peek-a-boo, and watching him flirt with the staff and the grandmas that happened to be at the theater. To my disappointment, I never got to finish watching the film.

So I waited until the movie came out on DVD to fully engage it, though it had already peaked my interest with El Chu. Well the day came finally came. We put it in the disc and began to watch.

Now, Planes follows pretty much the same storyline of the first Cars movie: Dusty CropHopper, a share cropping duster, has dreams to race in the biggest race of the world (think Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines) so he tries to qualify for the world race. Thanks to some PED violation disqualifies another plane, Dusty makes the cut.

Dusty is the underdog, the little fish in the big pond of air racing. His midwestern upbringing (I’ve lived in Minnesota long enough to identify midwestern upbringing) does not fit in to the cold, selfish world of air racing. Dusty knows he is not fast enough to compete, even though he has the support of his fuel truck best friend Chug and the mechanic Dottie, he knows he needs help. So he reaches out to the enigma of a character called Skipper Riley, a former navy war plane to see if he will train him. Skipper, in his best Doc Hudson angry voice, tells him no. The next morning Skipper visits Dusty to find out why this race is so important in which Dusty replies that he wants to prove that he is just more than a crop duster. With that said, Skipper decides to train him.

Race day is upon him and he meets all the racers from, Ishani (his love interest), Ripslinger (the evil guy), Rochelle (El Chu’s love interest), El Chupacabra, and Bulldog.

The race has seven legs, and each of them are challenging to Dusty. Mostly for the main reason that Dusty has a fear of heights (you are not alone, Dusty!).

This film is most definitely a family film and is a good to watch on movie night. The story line is one Disney seems to want to rewrite and rewrite. It has its ups and downs and is boring during the slow times. In my opinion, there are too many characters and too little time to develop their own personal storylines. But it’s entertaining.

The punchlines are corny, but that is what kids wants. El Chu steals the show, and yes, I am aware of the cultural appropriation that Disney is known for. But El Chu is voiced by a brown person — the comedian Carlos Alazraqui — and he gets mad when anyone mispronounces his name (for what it’s worth, I do too). He is a Mexican character, a tele-novela actor, and reminds me of Antonio Banderas in Puss in Boots.

The movie has been available on DVD and Blu-ray for a few weeks now.

So get your popcorn, sit down, watch it with the #NOCsintraining, and then tell me what you think about El Chu.