When he learns that his gearbox has a malfunction that could cause him to crash, Dusty (Dane Cook) fears his racing days may be over. Undeterred, he decides to join Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), a fire fighting helicopter, and his team, to learn how to protect his beloved home town.
Planes: Fire & Rescue, like the first film in the franchise, is a film that is aimed at kids under the age of eight years old. The moral of the story is pretty much the same as the first film, and the story itself is almost the same as Pixar’s 2006 movie, Cars.
Dane Cook reprises his role as Dusty, and is joined by Ed Harris as a fire fighting helicopter with a dark past, Julie Bowen as Dipper, an airplane with issues regarding stalking and her behaviour, Wes Studi as Windlifter and Regina King as Dyanmite. Each of the voice actors brings enthusiasm and warmth to their roles, but they are not given a huge amount of development or story to work with.
The screenplay – based on characters created by Jeffrey M. Howard – is filled with the sort of humour that tiny tots will like, but there is a lack of anything intelligent for the parents who will undoubtedly find themselves watching this movie over and over again. I will admit, however, that having a character named Avalanche who constantly shouts, did make me giggle. The first time.
Director Roberts Gannaway ramps up the emotion in the film, and makes the set pieces a lot of fun to watch and well created. The soundtrack makes great use of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, which only serves to add to the sense of fun and pace of the film. In all, however, Planes: Fire & Rescue is little more than fit for purpose, and the film being released in cinemas – instead of direct to DVD – is a mystery.
Planes: Fire & Rescue is a perfectly fine sequel to last year’s Planes, and is certainly a little more fun than its predecessor. That said, the film is extremely thin, and filled with one-dimensional characters. The voice actors do what they can, and mostly succeed, but having the lead female character a borderline stalker with serious issues is something that does not sit well with the rest of the film. Still, it is well animated and the set pieces are fun. Once again, this is a film for the littler, automobile obsessed kids in your life.