Disney has built its reputation as a film studio upon its animated features for young people. They have scored hit after hit with films like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Frozen, Alice in Wonderland, and The Lion King. After seen the first Planes film I realized that even a studio that usually has the golden touch when it comes to churning out high quality animated features can occasionally suffer a misstep. When I heard that they were making a second Planes film I did not hold out much hope that it would be any better. I was right, while Planes: Fire & Rescue isn’t painful it is not good either.
Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook – Dan in Real Life, Employee of the Month) has gone on to become a racing legend after winning the Race Around the Globe. He continues winning races and his popularity continues to grow. Because of his fame loads of planes are planning to come to this year’s Prop Wash Junction Corn Festival. The town is excited.
One day while out for a practice flight something goes wrong and he has to come in for an emergency landing. Dottie (Teri Hatcher – from television’s Desperate Housewives) tells him his gear box is failing and she cannot order another as it has been out of production for a long time. Dusty can no longer race or he will crash. He takes the news hard.
TMST comes in to investigate a fire at the Prop Wash airport that was caused by Dusty. They shut down the airport and it will remain closed unless they come up to code, Mayday (Hal Holbrook – Into the Wild, Lincoln) gets some updates and they find a second certified firefighter. The Corn Festival is now in jeopardy. Mayday believes his firefighting days are over.
Feeling useless and guilty Dusty volunteers to become the second firefighter; he just has to get certified. Under the advice of Mayday, Dusty travels to Piston Peak to look for Mayday’s old friend who works at the Piston Peak Air Attack, Blade Ranger (Ed Harris – A Beautiful Mind, Gravity). His training begins right away and it is not easy. Blade Ranger doesn’t go easy on Dusty.
The Piston Peak Grand Lodge is having a big reopening and Dusty, being a celebrity, is invited by the park Superintendant Cad (John Michael Higgins – Bad Teacher, A Million Ways to Die in the West). During the Lodge reopening ceremony a big fire breaks out. Preoccupied by further bad news about his gear box Dusty doesn’t pay attention to Blade’s instructions as a result he puts himself and Blade in danger. Blade is critically injured. The fire spreads to the main road so guests at the Lodge cannot get out. The Air Attack takes a risk and goes out at night. Dusty has to do something risky to save two older RVs. Will he have what it takes to be a hero?
As is the case with most animated films young ones will like this one much better than older animated film fans. Winning kids over is usually easier with adults being more demanding. The reason being the predictable script in which you can see the story and ending coming from a mile away. Which is too bad because I like the potential in the different way they took the story. It really had nothing to do with racing, which would have been the easy way to go in just rehashing the original story, rather they take things in a new direction. After the initial peaking of my interest they then drop the ball with the formulaic storytelling the followed.
There is nothing particularly wrong with it, but nothing that makes it stand out from other films either. I feel awful for saying that about a film that brings you soaring through the clouds. Too bad, such is the job of a film critic.
Planes: Fire & Rescue feels like a straight-to-video release and I expect better from Disney. This does not live up to the standards it has set for itself. Should not be at the top of your Christmas purchase list as there are better options out there; it is more of a it’s a snowy Sunday afternoon and there’s nothing else on pay-per-view purchase to keep the kids from driving you nuts.
-Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular
-“Still I Fly” Music Video by Spencer Lee
-Sneak Peeks of disneymovierewards.com, Disney Store, Star Wars Rebels, Maleficent, Disney Movies Anywhere, Big Hero 6, 101 Dalmations: Diamond Edition, Frozen: Sing-Along Edition
-Additional Animated Shorts
-Air Attack: Firefighters From the Sky
-Welcome to Piston Peak!
-CHoPs TV Promo