Directed by: Roberts Gannaway.
Written by: Jeffrey M. Howard.
Starring: Dane Cook (Dusty Crophopper), Ed Harris (Blade Ranger), Julie Bowen (Lil' Dipper), Curtis Armstrong (Maru), John Michael Higgins (Cad), Hal Holbrook (Mayday), Wes Studi (Windlifter), Brad Garrett (Chug), Teri Hatcher (Dottie), Stacy Keach (Skipper), Cedric the Entertainer (Leadbottom), Danny Mann (Sparky), Barry Corbin (Ol' Jammer), Regina King (Dynamite), Anne Meara (Winnie), Jerry Stiller (Harvey), Fred Willard (Secretary Of The Interior), Dale Dye (Cabbie), Matt Jones (Drip), Bryan Callen (Avalanche), Danny Pardo (Blackout), Corri English (Pinecone), Kari Wahlgren (Patch), Patrick Warburton (Pulaski), Rene Auberjonois (Concierge)..
As the father of an almost three year old I watch a lot of entertainment aimed at young children. Some of its isn’t that bad – I can even kind of enjoy episodes of Sofia the First or Doc McStuffins, even if I know I would never watch them if it wasn’t for my daughter. These shows teach simple lessons to children, and are wrapped up in an enjoyable, lightweight, musical package. The film Planes: Fire and Rescue – a sequel to last year`s Planes (which I didn’t see, because my daughter was too young last year to see movies) falls short of even those not very lofty standards. Its feels cheaply animated, and the story is not very interesting, even for young children. My daughter is not great at critical thinking right now – but normally when we go the movies, she sits in rapt attention at the screen even at not very good animated films like Mr. Peabody and Sherman or Legends of Oz. She grew restless during Planes: Fire and Rescue however. If a three year old is bored, what chance do the rest of us have?
The film follows the further adventures of Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) – who in the last film apparently went from a crop duster into a race plane. Now, his gearbox can no longer handle the strain of racing, and it’s been discontinued, so he cannot get a new one. He can still fly, but he cannot push himself very hard. When he gets into an accident, which puts his small town airport in danger of being shut down, unless they get a second firefighter, he feels responsible – and decides to become a fire plane himself. He heads off into a vast forest to be trained by Blade Ranger (voiced by Ed Harris) to get his certification. Blade has his own problems – a new resort has just re-opened in the forest, and its superintendent (John Michael Higgins) has taken all the forest`s funds for the resort. Blade and his team pushes Dusty hard – there are lots of fires, some big some small, and it’s all a lot harder than Dusty thought it would be.
The film is lazily written and animated. It was apparently intended at one point to be a direct to DVD sequel, but when the first film made a surprising amount of money, they decided to go ahead and release it to theaters. If it doesn’t make as much money, that’s okay, because like Pixar’s Cars franchise, which this is a spinoff to, Disney makes a ton of money out of the toys they sell based on the characters. They have clearly aimed these films at a younger audience than even most animated films – which I think they use mainly as an excuse for the lazy writing and animation. Young kids apparently do not require much effort.
Planes: Fire and Rescue just isn’t a very good movie. There is no real effort put into the film by anyone, which to me lacks respect. My daughter may not be a critical thinker yet, but she knows what she likes. She did not like Planes: Fire and Rescue. If we didn’t have popcorn, I doubt we would have made it through the movie. That’s simply not good enough.