Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty—first time reviewer
|Featuring:||Dane Cook … Dusty Crophopper (voice)
Ed Harris … Blade Ranger (voice)
Hal Holbrook … Mayday (voice)
Teri Hatcher … Dottie (voice)
Patrick Warburton … Pulaski (voice)
Stacy Keach … Skipper (voice)
Cedric the Entertainer … Leadbottom (voice)
Fred Willard … Secretary Of The Interior (voice)
Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Pictures|
Prequel: “Disney's Planes” (2013)
“Planes: Fire and Rescue” is a nice sequel to the first movie. I like it when sequels present very different subject matter from the original, so I was glad to see that this is not another movie focused on racing. This movie’s story opens shortly after the first movie ends. Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is now famous, having won the race around the world. Unfortunately, though, he has some mechanical problems.
Dusty’s gearbox has some issues that could cause him to crash if he flies too fast, and his particular type of gearbox is no longer manufactured. One night, he pushes his limits too much and stalls. He tries to land at an airport but crashes into something which causes a fire at the airport. The airport firefighters are not well equipped to put out the fire, so as a desperate response they knock over a water tower.
The airport’s inability to properly handle the emergency causes it to lose its certification, meaning that an air racing festival to be held there would have to be postponed unless two competent firefighters could be certified. Dusty feels guilty that the airport lost its certification because of a fire he started and feels that he can take on the task of firefighting, so he begins receiving training from a team that extinguishes wildfires.
From an entertainment standpoint, I think this movie is stronger than the first one. The plot feels better paced, and the firefighting scenes are very exciting. The scenery and fires look quite realistic for an animated movie, and the dramatic music fits wonderfully. The fire scenes’ intensity and realism might be a little scary for very young kids. There are scenes of planes surrounded by fires, and a couple times planes crash and are damaged badly, but they survive and are repaired.
From a moral perspective, this is the cleanest modern movie I have seen. There are just a few comments that parents might want to know about. A character mentions kicking someone’s “Aston Martin,” and someone says “Oh Chevy!”. A character mentions a movie’s “lawbreaking love” as though she’s fascinated by it. There is also a short bar scene where beer is served, and there is one comment that might have been a lie.
The movie has a positive message about moving forward in life and finding a new direction, rather than dwelling on the past and the things you cannot do anymore. This could be a reminder of how God always gives us something valuable that we can do, regardless of what stage of our lives we are in.
Another element worth discussion is Dusty’s tendency to go against the advice of his trainers. He means well and wants to maximize his effectiveness as a firefighter, but he misjudges his abilities at times. Over the course of the movie, his reliance on his own judgment has both good and bad results. Obviously, this matter is connected to a much bigger debate about the role of authority that has many views from both a Biblical and philosophical standpoint. Nonetheless, the common denominator we can agree on is that we have weaknesses that we cannot fully comprehend, so we should not lightly disregard the perspective of those with more experience.
I think this second installment to the “Planes” series is quite satisfactory and more enjoyable than I expected. It is not groundbreaking, but the quality of the flight action and music succeeds in making a movie that’s basically average in storytelling and character design feel somewhat better than average. If you’re interested in the movie, I would recommend seeing it while it is in theaters, as some flight scenes are more fascinating to watch on the huge screen.
I give this “Planes” installment a positive recommendation as a family movie. For teenagers or adults looking for something to watch themselves or with friends, I give it a neutral recommendation. I can’t give them strong assurance that they will like it, but they may think it is fun enough to be worth an hour and a half.
Violence: Mild to moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.