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Planes: Fire & Rescue Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jul 18, 2014
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the exciting adventures of Dusty the Crophopper/racer plane as he joins a firefighting air attack team in our Planes: Fire and Rescue movie review!

By: Lynn Barker

Poor little Dusty Crophopper. He’s now a famous racing plane with fans galore but he’s got an old part that is failing. If he goes too fast, he could crash! To top it off his airfield is shut down because it doesn’t meet fire safety standards. What’s left? Dusty will train as a water scooping plane and fight fires!

Dusty flies into his first fireDusty flies into his first fireCourtesy of Walt Disney Studio

At the Field

Now famous racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) is back home after winning his latest race. Dottie the forklift/mechanic (voice of Teri Hatcher) tells him that his gearbox is ancient and practically toast. They don’t make them anymore. If he flies too fast, he’ll crash. His racing days are over!  Despondent, Dusty tries to prove her wrong, his engine stalls and he semi-crashes and starts a fire! Together, the trucks and planes, including ancient fire engine Mayday (voice of Hal Holbrook) put the fire out but Federal Safety Board folks shut down the field until Mayday can be upgraded and another firefighter is added.

Dusty Steps Up

Little Dusty volunteers to be the new firefighter and is sent for training at a nearby firefighting air attack installation in a National Park where famous veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) will teach him to be a water scooping plane after pontoons are added to his body. Lil’ Dipper, another scooper plane (voice of Julie Bowen) is star-struck, falls hard for Dusty and keeps flirting with him. Dusty’s training is slow but heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Dale Dye) and the crew of heavy equipment smoke jumpers, seem to think he can qualify.

Lovesick Dipper flirts with DustyLovesick Dipper flirts with DustyCourtesy of Walt Disney Studio

Fires and Rescue

A fire comes along and Dusty has to help but he can’t go fast or he will crash. When his reluctance results in he and Blade being trapped by fire and hiding in an old mine, Blade is injured and Dusty, feeling guilty, tells him the truth. The team hates park lodge owner Cad Spinner, (voice of John Michael Higgins) a haughty SUV who diverts water from the team’s supply to save his lodge when a huge new fire breaks out.  Can Dusty really help this time? Can the team save hundreds of cars, stranded campers and a train threatened by the fire? Will Dusty ever race again?

Windlifter, Lil' Dipper and fellow firefightersWindlifter, Lil' Dipper and fellow firefightersCourtesy of Walt Disney Studio

Wrapping Up

At the beginning of Planes: Fire and Rescue we are told that the movie is dedicated to firefighters all over the world and we understand why. The filmmakers studied the details of firefighting air attacks and the planes and equipment used in them and it shows. This movie looks really amazing; from camera angles used in flight to the scary majesty of fast-moving fires, you are really sucked into the midst of the flames (especially in great 3-D!). Great animation detail! There is lots of fast-paced visual excitement in this Planes spin-off, a disaster/adventure rather than a racing film. There is also plenty of emotional fuel and a little comedy to feed the “feelings” side of things. The music is heroic with a few fun tunes by country star Brad Paisley thrown in.

Lil' Dipper drops her load of fire retardantLil' Dipper drops her load of fire retardantCourtesy of Walt Disney Studio

Voice actors do great work. Really enjoyed the great Ed Harris as Blade Ranger and formidable Wes Studi as the American-Indian-inspired helicopter Windlifter.

The story is semi-fresh other than the inclusion of yet another old, once-famous “teacher” who is reluctant to spill all about his past and whose zest for life is rekindled by a younger model. Blade Ranger is very, very like Doc Hudson (voice of the late Paul Newman), the once famous racer who teaches a thing or two to Lightning McQueen in the original Cars. At least Dusty is faced with a life-threatening crisis. If an out-of-production replacement part can’t be found, he must slow down or “die”. Heavy story stuff for a cartoon.

Dusty talks to nasty CadDusty talks to nasty CadCourtesy of Walt Disney Studio

Despite some familiar jokes and story territory, will you enjoy watching Dusty, his old pals and all the fun new “models” in this fast-paced, eye-popping adventure? Sure, and your parents will probably not be bored. We go three stars.

Planes: Fire & Rescue Movie Rating: 3

Planes: Fire and Rescue Poster Planes: Fire and Rescue Poster Courtesy of Walt Disney Studio

Planes: Fire & Rescue is in theaters July 18th!

Have Your Say

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