Planes: Fire & Rescue is the sequel to last year’s “Planes”, which of course, is a spin-off of the “Cars” films. “Planes” wasn’t very well received so it was a little surprising to say the least when a sequel was announced. Comedian Dane Cook returns to voice Dusty Crophopper, the now successful racing plane.
What’s it all about: Unfortunately for Dusty, his gearbox becomes damaged due to over-revving and to make matters worse, that particular type of gearbox is out of production. Frustrated, Dusty flies off recklessly into the night, only to suffer engine trouble and crash into Propwash Junction’s airport, causing a fire. The fire is put out by Mayday, the Junction’s fire fighter, and the rest of the residents but the Airport is closed due to insufficient firefighting personnel. To make amends for his mistake, Dusty offers to undergo training to be certified as a firefighter so that the airport can be open again. Thus, Dusty has to travel to Piston Peak National Park to train under a fire and rescue crew under Mayday’s old friend, Blade Ranger (Ed Harris).
What we love:
Better Storyline: While “Planes” felt like an exact replica of what “Cars” was, right down to the marketability and toy making aspect of it all, “Planes: Fire And Rescue” feels drastically different. Simply, where the story takes Dusty makes the movie as a whole much more compelling. Everyone has had to give up something they loved doing for various reasons and that Dusty has to immediately jump into learning how to fire fight gives the movie a simple underdog story feel that both adults and kiddies will appreciate. Combined with the heartfelt dedication of the movie to fire fighters, this movie doesn’t feel like the run of the mill affair that the original “Planes” was.
Not so cool:
Unmemorable: In many aspects, Planes: Fire & Rescue is similar to its predecessor. Even though it’s not made by Pixar, (instead, it’s by DisneyToon Studios, the first movie was meant to go straight to DVD until executives were so impressed with the footage that they released it in cinemas) the animation is of great quality and the kids will surely be in awe of whatever is happening on the big screen. And again, just like the first movie, this one is overstocked with characters and hardly any of them stand out. However, the movie makes up for it with a light and easy going sense of humour that mostly involves the characters throwing out pun filled one-liners about automobiles and 70s pop culture references.
All in all, while Planes: Fire & Rescue isn’t particularly fantastic… it’s a perfectly decent movie that’s more than capable of entertaining your kids and giving the parents some laughs along the way. The main flaw of the movie is that it isn’t very memorable but with expectations pretty low after the disappointment of the first “Planes” movie… this feels a lot better. Plenty of cheap laughs, a good moral message and an old school feel good vibe help make this film a lot better than most people expected it to be.