Planes: Fire & Rescue (3D): Film Review – A tribute to American firefighters

The 2013 Disney animated film, Planes, was an aviation spin-off of Pixar’s Cars. The film narrated the saga of Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook). His journey to achieve his dream. A journey from being a crop duster to an International racing hero. In the sequel, Planes: Fire & Rescue, the saga continues. But this time it’s not limited to winning. It’s about realizing the truth of life, making sacrifices and giving back.

The movie opens with ‘Dusty’, crop duster-turned-International celebrity, realizing that his gearbox is damaged. And no replacement is available. This leaves him with only one option, keep his speed under control, else he’ll crash. Unwilling to accept his limitation, he pushes his limits one night, only to risk his life and Propwash airport. A fire breaks out and the airport is shut owing to non-compliance of safety measures. This inspires Dusty for a second career change – a firefighter. He is soon sent off to Piston Peak National Park to join the elite squad of aerial firefighters. The team includes Blade Ranger, Windlifter, Lil’ Dipper, Cabbie and Smokejumpers. Together they set off on a series of life-and-death adventures. His training days at Piston Park make Dusty realize that there is more to flying than winning races. Will Dusty earn the firefighter certification and save the day for Propwash airport is what Planes: Fire & Rescue is all about.

A sincere effort to salute the heroism of American firefighters who risk their lives for unknown people, this sequel is an improved affair compared to its 2013 predecessor. There are several soul-stirring moments in this 83-minute long tribute to virtues including teamwork, courage and sacrifice.

With more action incorporated in the script the plot is fast-paced, making the film a decent watch. The VFX team have done an impressive job. From the character details to elaborate rescue scenes, the almost flawless animation is definitely big-screen-worthy. Especially the scenes involving fire. A scene where Dusty and the firefighter squad fly through a cloud of thick smoke to find the valley below engulfed in fire. Its a visual marvel enhanced with subtle yet intense sound design. The animators, VFX specialists and sound department have nailed the technical aspect to overcome the weakness of a flat script that has been seen and heard, over and over again.

The vocals for each character is cherry-picked. Dane Cook, who is back as Dusty does a fine job. Ed Harris as Blade Ranger is just about perfect. The same holds true for other characters though none had enough screen presence to contribute to the film apart from Lil’ Dipper voiced by Julie Bowen.

Like any other Disney flick, Planes: Fire & Rescue ends on a happy note with enough silly jokes to keep the little ones excited. Also, a dash of occasional mild puns will help the adults cross the finish line.

Why should you watch this film?

A colorful entertainer for kids, this film can be your weekend movie date with your little ones. Despite being a tale of steel and chrome characters, the hidden moral messages touches the soul. A tribute to people who risk their lives for others, preaching virtues and impressive animation are good enough reasons to watch Planes: Fire & Rescue.

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