Magazine article Variety

Sequel Fires Up 'Planes' Franchise

Magazine article Variety

Sequel Fires Up 'Planes' Franchise

Article excerpt

Sequel Fires Up 'Planes' Franchise

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Director: Bobs Gannaway

Voices: Dane Cook, Ed Harris

After making a tin-eared debut with last year's "Planes," an earthbound pileup of lame jokes and ethnic caricatures, Disney's "Cars" spinoff franchise gets a bit higher off the ground with "Planes: Fire & Rescue." Largely ditching the funny accents in favor of an earnest but emotionally effective salute to the everyday heroism of America's firefighters, this formulaic small-fry entertainment still doesn't possess the story smarts to justify a bigscreen upgrade for a property that was conceived with home formats in mind. Nonetheless, there are honestly stirring moments to be found in the movie's heartfelt tribute to teamwork, courage and sacrifice, and in its soaring 3D visuals. Box office returns should land in the vicinity of the first pic's $219 million worldwide haul; merchandising revenue and other ancillary streams look as unstoppable as ever.

Having realized his dreams of stardom on the international racing circuit in the first film, Dusty Crophopper (again voiced by Dane Cook) is literally flying high when "Fire & Rescue" opens. But after he experiences some engine trouble during a routine test flight, his four-wheeled mechanic friend Dottie (Teri Hatcher) peeks under the hood and offers a grim diagnosis: Dusty's gearbox is practically kaput, and with no chance of repairing or replacing it, his racing days are effectively over.

When a fire accidentally breaks out at their airport, Dusty and friends look to Mayday (Hal Holbrook), a wheezy old fire truck whose faltering equipment makes it harder to extinguish the blaze than it should be. When the airport is subsequently shut down due to non-compliance with safety regulations, Dusty is inspired to do his part to help save the day - and find a second-chance career alternative to racing - by joining an elite squad of aerial firefighters. Together these brave flyers are tasked with protecting the beautiful and historic Piston Peak National Park during wildfire season.

The character dynamics are familiar but effective: In addition to dodging the amorous attentions of one of his teammates, a starstruck air tanker named Dipper (Julie Bowen), Dusty must accept the demanding leadership of Blade Ranger (Ed Harris, the go-to actor for telling you how it is), a surly helicopter who's not convinced the new celebrity in their midst has what it takes to be a great firefighter. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.