Planes 2: Fire and Rescue

Directed by Roberts Gannaway
Starring Dane Cook, Ed Harris & Julie Bowen
In UK Cinemas August 8th, 2014

by Amanda Farley

Planes was always going to be a tough gig to follow. Given the general failings of the first film, the sequel had a lot of work to do to try and create something from pretty much nothing. Planes 2: Fire and Rescue manages to at least offer audiences a real story that they can engage with. It isn’t quite a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but it does have a flicker of heart.

Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), is back and since winning the round-the-world championship he has become something of a sporting legend. However, a broken gear box suddenly changes everything. With the part being out of production his days as a racer seem over. No longer able to reach his optimal speed, he returns home broken, upset and wondering what to do next. However when a fire breaks out at the airport and aging fire engine Mayday (voice of Hal Holbrook) is unable to cope, the answer is clear. To save the airport and Corn Fest, Dusty must train as the airport’s second fire fighter. Keen to help and make up for his past mistakes, he turns to Mayday for help and so ends up training as a forest firefighter at Piston Peak National Park. While there he makes new friends, learns to conquer his overconfidence and learns how to really be fearless in the face of danger.

The animation is beautiful throughout and the serious business of firefighting is well handled. The film looks at what it means to be a true hero and at the way firefighters put their lives at stake day after day for people they don’t even know. There is also the welcome presence of Julie Bowen as the voice of Lil’ Dipper, a feisty firefighter who offers a romantic edge to the main story. The real stars however have to be Harvey and Winnie, an elderly pair of RVs celebrating their anniversary voiced by Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Their relationship has real depth and they bring wonderful comic joy to the disaster film style plot.

All in all the story line is gripping enough to make for a pleasant 84 minutes. It won’t ever be a classic, but it will keep the kids entertained on a rainy day.

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