Film: Planes: Fire and Rescue
Director: Roberts Gannaway
Cast: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen
Planes: Fire and Rescue is not as much of a film as a merchandise opportunity, a lot like the first Planes film or its cousin, the Cars franchise. The saving grace is that this one comes with a decent storyline and some awesome animation, unlike the weak original film.
Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), our ace flying champion, from the first film is back. Last time over, we saw him winning a round-the-world championship and by now, he has earned some more accolades. However, a minor engine trouble reveals that Dusty’s engine is shot to hell. Given that this is a model which is out of production now, Dusty’s days as flying champ are over. The airport catches fire and ageing fire engine Mayday is just not equal to it. Feds give a warning: either get a second firetruck and upgrade, or the airport will be shut down.
Also read: Critics' review: Planes doesn't quite take off
Dusty decides that if he cannot race the skies, he can save lives as a firefighter. Soon he is dispatched to a national park where a flying team of firefighters is based.
That’s where he meets new characters (we mean that word in every sense of the term) – Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), a ex-TV star who is the clear boss of the team; his fan Dipper (Julie Bowen) who immediately puts her moves on Dusty and aptly-named park superintendent Cad, the villain of the piece.
Cad wants to hobnob with celebs and has siphoned off the money which was meant for the firefighters for his new lodge. Things come to a head when a wildfire spreads in the park and it is left to the team to save lives.
It is while Dusty has his training in the canyon-riddled Yellowstone-style park that we get the real thrills. With those blue-and-orange flames, director Roberts Gannaway shows us what he is capable of. The rescue operations are probably the best part of the entire film. At least, they are much better than rather than rather oily dialogue we end up listening to in the film.
And now, back to the question of merchandise opportunity that this Disney product is all about. The film is about talking cars and planes – a six-year-olds dream world. Very soon, you may see the Happy meal box with Dusty and co’s toy replicas in it. After that, it will time for another sequel.
Does the film work for adults? Not really, unless you are talking about a few good dialogues and some throwbacks. But before you accompany your kid to the films, here’s a fair warning: this is no Toy Story, this is just about them.