Planes: Fire & Rescue is a perfectly safe animated movie that children under the age of 12 might enjoy but anyone older, especially adults, might find it to be on the dull side. Still, at least the animation is good and I did enjoy some of the voice acting, but it’s hardly enough to get over a subpar script/plot.
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Genre(s): Animation, Adventure, Family
Disney | PG – 84 min. – $39.99 | November 4, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
I’d be pissed at Disney for this unnecessary sequel, but Planes: Fire & Rescue just joins the ranks of so many Disney sequels that were churned out in the 1990s, though this one somehow found its way to theaters (the first Planes movie was meant to be DTV). This addition, which is a sequel to a spin-off of Cars (arguably Pixar’s worst movie), and honestly, it’s a harmless movie but it’s also one that the kids will enjoy but parents will get very little out of it.
When Dusty’s (voiced by DANE COOK) gear box begins to fail which means he can no longer race as it is no longer produced and too complicated to build (which we find out later is B.S., but whatever). After Dusty tries to push it to the limit while flying, he crashes into a post at the airport causing an explosion which an old timer fire engine, Mayday (HAL HOLBROOK), has to use a water tank to extinguish that in turn attracts the attention of the fire authority, the “TMST” (Transportation Management Safety Team) who threatens to shut down the airport unless they get up to code and get a second firefighter.
So, to make amends, and since he can no longer race, Dusty flies off to Piston Peak National Park to get certified in fire fighting meeting up with Chief Blade Ranger (ED HARRIS) to get training, though as you can imagine, it doesn’t start off well. Upon his arrival, we get to meet a few other colorful characters like SuperScooper Dipper (JULIE BOWEN), Skycrane Windlifter (WES STUDI) and other smaller vehicles including some smokejumpers.
The essence of the plot finds Dusty not only training but also a newly remodeled lodge with high-level dignitaries and common tourists converging while a wildfire looms nearby. You get the gist of where it’s going, not that many animated movies disguise their plots anyway.
Planes: Fire & Rescue is what I’d call a safe movie. It’s not very well written and it lacks the charm of many other Pixar and Disney movies, heck, even Cars had some charm to it (Cars 2… not so much). That being said, it’s not a terrible movie and for families, it’s perfectly OK to watch together. The animation itself is pretty good and the voice acting is quite good with the addition of Ed Harris to the mix along with some greats like Brad Garrett, Fred Willard, Patrick Warburton and John Ratzenberger, not to mention a great cameo from Erik Estrada for a parody video…
Aside from that, though, this is fairly average affair and unnecessary just about on every level. Yeah, kids will probably get a kick out of it but parents, and adults in general, might be a tad bored with it all.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy and embossed slip cover. Inside the case are a DVD Copy and a code for the Digital Copy.
“Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular” (5:55; HD) is an animated short featuring Dusty (voiced by Cook).
Welcome to Piston Peak (2:49; HD) is a mock promo for the Piston Peak National Park.
“CHoPs” TV Promo (0:45; HD) lets you see the show ad within the movie.
Air Attack: Firefighters from the Sky (4:47; HD) looks at the real life inspirations for the movie.
Deleted Scenes (4:32; HD) include three scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut and include intros explaining why.
Also include are a Music Video (1:31; HD) for “Still I Fly” and two Animated Shorts (3:30; HD), “Dipper” and “Smoke Jumpers.”
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Planes: Fire & Rescue flies onto Blu-ray presented with a fine-looking 1080p high-definition transfer and a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture as one would expect looks good with bright, cheerful colors throughout and dark levels are stark and outside of a couple instances of banding, this is an excellent transfer.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
Although this comes with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, amazingly it’s kind of subdued at times. While the track does come to life for some of the songs and the score, as well as a couple moments, all in all most of the audio is centrally located and fairly soft rather than having any kind of depth. I don’t know if this was a problem with the authoring or if the studio got cheap with the production, but this is one of the more disappointing audio transfers I’ve come across.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, Planes: Fire & Rescue is a perfectly safe animated movie that children under the age of 12 might enjoy but anyone older, especially adults, might find it to be on the dull side. Still, at least the animation is good and I did enjoy some of the voice acting, but it’s hardly enough to get over a subpar script/plot. The Blu-ray released by Buena Vista is a mixed bag with thin amount of bonus material (geared towards kids) and while the video is great, the audio has much to be desired.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.