PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE:
UNDENIABLY SUPERIOR THAN ITS PREDECESSOR, IT’S STILL ONLY APPEALING TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION AND THAT’S IT!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C (2 ½ stars)
Dusty Crophopper, the underdog crop duster from the 2013 Disney Cars spinoff movie, Planes is back in this questionable sequel, Planes: Fire and Rescue. Again, like its predecessor, I didn’t hate it, but I can say that it certainly isn’t a good movie…for adults that is.
Of course, it will appeal to kids, with its colorful and family-friendly animation, goofy voice acting, and if they’d rather not see How to Train Your Dragon 2 again or rent The Lego Movie from Netflix.
The main protagonists characters from Planes return in Planes: Fire and Rescue like Dusty (voiced once again by Comedy Central’s Dane Cook-Dan In Real Life), Dottie (voiced by Teri Hatcher-Coraline, Desperate Housewives, Spy Kids), Skipper (voiced by Stacy Keach-Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, American History X, The Bourne Legacy), Chug (voiced by Brad Garrett-Porco Rosso, 2 Stupid Dogs, Tangled), Sparky (voiced by Danny Mann), and a few others.
To the first film’s credit, I may have found it mediocre; I did get a kick out of Roger Craig Smith’s voice as Dusty’s rival, Ripslinger, he was the one who made the movie for me.
The voices for the new characters in Planes: Fire and Rescue aren’t too bad, and it’s definitely better than the cast from the first film, because back in Planes, I pretty much only enjoyed one character voice in the entire film. This time there are more talented voice actors in the sequel such as Ed Harris (Apollo 13, The Rock, The Truman Show) as veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter, Blade Ranger, The Smokejumpers voiced by Regina King (The Boondocks) as Dynamite, Corri English (Runaway Jury, NCIS, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast) as Pinecone, Bryan Callen (The Hangover, MADtv, About Last Night) as Avalanche, Danny Pardo as Blackout (Okay Transformers, sue something!), Matt Jones as Drip, Jerry Stiller (Seinfeld) as RV, Harvey, and even some characters voiced by iconic voice actors, Patrick Warburton and Kevin Michael Richardson, at least there are more likeable voice actors behind this film than its predecessor.
Some time after the events of Planes, we find Dusty Crophopper doing what he does best, racing in the World Grand Prix and winning trophies. That is until he realizes that his engine is damaged and may never be able to race again.
So during his time before the next race, he shifts gears and flies into a world of wildfire air attack (Don’t we have Smokey Bear to teach us about that?). Soon Dusty meets a group of firefighting cars and planes led by veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter, Blade Ranger.
Blade’s air attack team consists of spirited, talkative, and Dusty’s number one fan, Lil Dipper (voiced by Julie Bowen-Happy Gilmore, Multiplicity, Horrible Bosses), heavy-lift helicopter, Windlifter (voiced by Wes Studi-Dances with Wolves, Heat, Avatar), ex-military transport, Cabbie (voiced by Dale Dye-JFK, Under Siege, Starship Troopers), and the acrobatic, Smokejumpers.
Dusty decides to assist them with firefighting and much like the first Planes and Cars movies, he has a lot to learn if he’s going to become a firefighter.
Overall, Planes: Fire and Rescue is an improvement over Planes with its story and voice acting, but it’s still too juvenile and more targeted towards kids to be considered decent family entertainment, unlike How to Train Your Dragon 2, Frozen, and The Lego Movie, where they managed to appeal to both children and adults.
But with that said, this isn’t a terrible movie, none of the Cars or Planes movies are bad enough for me to pull my hair out and go on an explosive rant, unlike other certain family films that I know of (Free Birds, The Smurfs, the Alvin and the Chipmunks Squeakquels). The animation is colorful and the scenery can be very beautiful at times (But there’s definitely no comparison between this and the animation from Frozen, Frozen is far superior).
Surprisingly the story in this film is better than the plot from Planes, it didn’t feel like Cars in the air again, this times it’s Cars…in the air…and on fire. At least it’s not Secret Agent Planes, like the plot of the widely despised, Cars 2.
And like I said before, the voice acting is decent as well with the new characters, and I may not be a fan of Dane Cook, but he did okay as Dusty in these films, nothing great but nothing bad either. Although if I had to pick one, I’d still have to say Owen Wilson is better than Dane as Lighting McQueen in the Cars movies.
If you’re looking for a satisfying family night out at the movies, I would recommend skipping this, you’d be better off seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2 again, you’ll have more fun. This is more one of those movies you’d buy on DVD to show your kids when they’re being reckless, just like the first film.
Also if you want to see a clever, exciting, and funny animated feature from Disney, I’d recommend waiting until Big Hero 6 comes out in November.