Director: Roberts Gannaway
Cast: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Cedric the Entertainer
Running Time: 83 Mins
Release Date: August 8th
Time takes its toll on all of us. Where once your body used to spring, it now creaks and cracks. Your knees and your back start to give you problems and recovery from anything physically exertive extends from hours to days; from days to weeks. It’s just a by-product of the aging process and the reason why professional athletes, who often suffer later in life from years of pushing their bodies to the limit, have to retire.
For Dust Crophopper (Cook), the, err, crop dusting airplane turned international rally champion (because Planes taught us that you can be anything you want to be), it’s not his knees or his back that are troubling him but his, err, gearbox. That’s right; Dusty has spent so long pushing his chassis (body) to the limit that it’s starting to give up on him. He will need a gearbox replacement (transplant) to be able to compete again.
Unfortunately for Dusty, his model is out of production and, thus, parts are difficult to find. His friends resolve to scour the country to find a part for their stricken ally.
Meanwhile, a government report finds the airport in Propwash Junction (Dusty’s home town) is short a fire officer and thus unsafe for purpose. Dusty, fearing an end to his racing days, heads off to Piston Peak National Park to learn, wait for it, fire and rescue from the helicopter named Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) to help keep the airport open. But is Dusty too much of a ‘big shot’ to listen to the veteran?
The first thing that should be noted is that this is not a Pixar film. It’s made by Disney, just spun off from the Cars world. In fact, it’s a cash-in sequel to a spin-off – its release comes just one year after Planes – to a sequel to a film not a lot of people liked very much in the first place. As such, it is not one of those films that is (cliché alert) just as enjoyable for the adults as it is for the kids.
Planes: Fire & Rescue is not very enjoyable at all for adults. Its story is hackneyed and its characters have fewer dimensions than a line segment. It might look reasonably pretty but you’ll spend the graciously short 83 minutes hoping for a twist or some comic relief. There is none of the former, certainly none of note, and the latter is only really supplied by the stalker like obsession Lil’ Dipper (Bowen) has for Dusty.
One of the few redeeming features of Fire & Rescue for those people who wake up tired with aches and pains of a morning is that those indestructible, indefatigable, little people they have to entertain (aka children) will enjoy it. It has bright, primary colours, characters who are easy to understand and relatable themes –respecting your elders, triumph over adversity, etc – even for a three or four year old. Oh, and there’s surely loads of tie-in merchandise you buy for them to keep them occupied.
If you have no children to entertain, however, avoid it.