When it comes to animated feature films, people are either going to love it or hate it.
However, if there is going to be a successful franchise for an animated film or even a sequel to its spin-off film, then Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue” has just shown us why people are going to love it.
“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is the second installment for Disney’s Planes trilogy and a spin-off of Pixar’s Cars franchise. To be completely honest, it’s amazing to know that a family-friendly film can even have its own trilogy, in which the story centres on the world famous air-racer Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook). Thus, the expectations for the film was set to the lowest to avoid any disappointments.
Perhaps there should be a little reminder for the audience that they must be able to think that the characters are in the most natural form in a human-free universe. It’s like how a Sanrio spokesperson explained that Hello Kitty is not a cat but a cartoon character who walks and sits like us.
It would be going too far to call them humans, but the fact that their universe is similar to ours is how they are depicted in the film. Of course, a few things have to be altered to fit into their human-free universe but we can more or less gauge that they’re depicting our world.
The plot for “Planes: Fire & Rescue” was surprisingly good as it puts the aerial firefighters’ lives in the limelight. The film takes off with a shaky beginning as it begins with a “corny” introduction of recurring characters. But such introduction was understandable so that audience will know how Dusty Crophopper transformed from an over-confident air racer to a heroic firefighting aircraft.
Slowly but surely, the film progresses to show that it has dropped its stereotypic racing concept (the one we’ve seen in its first film) and instead introduces us to the firefighting aircrafts that risk their lives for their job.
Now, this is the part where parents would appreciate as the film inserts all the valuable lessons for the young ones. In addition, the audience will notice the differences between the normal planes and the aircrafts that was specially made to save lives, or rather, protect their historical national park from a raging wildfire.
Under the wings of their tough and demanding air boss, Blade Ranger (voiced by Ed Harris), the aerial firefighting crew is made out of the heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voiced by Wes Studi), a former cargo hauler Lil’ Dipper (voiced by Julie Brown), and the old ex-military transport plane Cabbie.
Having said that, aircrafts aren’t the only life-saving characters in the film as a bunch of all-terrain vehicles known as “The Smokejumpers” are a fearless firefighting team too! They depend on each other as the teamwork allows them to protect the wildfire from spreading.
Besides, Dusty will learn about the harsh reality that when his racing heydays are over, his overconfidence and selfishness are no longer required in the world of aerial firefighting. Fear is not an option and sacrifices must be made, even if it’s for the sake of people they don’t even know.
A film is incomplete without introducing its antagonist, of course. In this case, the park’s superintendent Cad Spinner (voiced by John Michael Higgins) is the deal breaker as he uses a big chunk of the firefighter’s budget for his own profits. This is, of course, accompanied his luxury Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) look. Even when the park is at the risk of being burnt down by the wildfire, Spinner uses all his ways to protect his own luxury inn from the damage. As a result, the firefighting team faces their biggest challenge to save the park with the limited water supply.
With that being said, can the firefighting team save the national park from the raging wildfire? Will Dusty overcome his fear and take full responsibility in the world of aerial firefighting?
Truth be told, watching “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is satisfying as it rekindles the inner child in us, which is about as good as any family-friendly film can offer. With its impressive 3D scenes and a little emotional hook, adults may enjoy the film and even chuckle a little by the adult-skewed jokes.
Directed by Bobs Gannaway (“Secret of the Wings”), “Planes: Fire & Rescue” hits Malaysia’s theaters in 3D on 11th September.
For more information, visit its official website.