UK Release Date: 8th August 2014
Runtime: 84 minutes
Director: Bobs Gannaway
Writer: Jeffrey M Howard
Starring: Dane Cook, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach
Synopsis: Former racing plane Dusty Crophopper discovers that he cannot race any more and pursues a new career fighting forest fires.
When straight-to-DVD production company DisneyToon Studios released Planes in cinemas this time last year, I complained that it was a shameless attempt for Disney to cash-in on the success of Pixar. It made in excess of $200m at the global box office, setting up Planes: Fire and Rescue as something of a depressing inevitability.
Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) has established himself as a champion racer, but a gearbox problem cuts his career short. After an accident involving a fire closes the local airport, Dusty decides to train as a firefighter. Working under veteran helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and racing fangirl Lil’ Dipper (Julie Bowen), Dusty must battle his own arrogance to become a certified firefighter.
| "You had me up to the point where he eats his own tyres."
To be fair to Planes: Fire and Rescue, it is considerably better than its predecessor. The hideously insensitive stereotyping is gone and the visuals are genuinely impressive. In fact, the third act fire sequence is one of the more visually exciting sequences in children’s cinema this year.
Unfortunately, the film is a complete failure on every other level. Bafflingly successful comedian Dane Cook remains irritating in the central role and his interactions with slightly stalker-like fan Lil’ Dipper are toe-curlingly free of chemistry.
It seems like the creative team behind Planes: Fire and Rescue just didn’t bother with this film. The plot is wafer-thin and there is no character development to speak of at all. Narratively, it’s about as simplistic a film as possible, with every twist and turn obvious from a mile away.
| "It takes a special kind of plane to become a firefighter."
Planes: Fire and Rescue never feels like any real effort has been put into it. It’s simply a cash-in on a franchise that will continue to sell lunchboxes, DVDs and toys for a long time yet.
Pop or Poop?
In a summer of hugely disappointing children’s movies, Planes: Fire and Rescue is up there with the worst of them.
Despite some impressive visuals, there’s a complete absence of character and narrative drive. It leaves the film feeling flat and unemotional.
Sadly, it’ll do great money and, this time, next year we’ll have to sit through Planes 3.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.