Planes: Fire and Rescue – Worth Watching?

Planes_fire_rescue_posterThough Planes had its flaws I enjoyed the first film of the franchise. I was looking forward to this sequel, Planes: Fire and Rescue since watching the first. But, how does it stack up? Here’s some things to consider and my conclusion on the film.

Planes: Fire and Rescue is about overcoming failure and disappointment. Dusty faces the challenge of fire fighting and whether he can overcome an unforeseen obstacle. New friends show him what it means to sacrifice for others in the process.

This is a pretty original story for the world of Planes and Cars. Dusty faces this new challenge and meets a group that will help him overcome it. Fire and Rescue had a couple of great twists to the plot. I felt like it diverged from the original enough to stand on its own. I know the critiques of the first, that it just took cues from Lightning McQueen’s story and made it about an aerial race. This was something else. There were still some rehashed plot elements from the other vehicular Disney movies, but it took them in different directions than before. Overall, I was quite pleased with the story.

With the exception of the replaying of the Planes theme at the beginning, I’ve got to say I wasn’t as impressed with the soundtrack as before. It wasn’t distracting or bad, it was just there. The Planes theme is something I enjoy listening to over and over, but in this sequel there wasn’t anything that stood out this time. I had hoped for something epic like before, but country songs and ACDC stepped in instead. Again, not all bad, just not anything that grabbed my attention.

I didn’t mind the characters in the first movie, but most of the ones in Fire and Rescue are sticking with me more. One thing is how original they seem from the other vehicular movies. The main support group for Dusty isn’t featured as much here. The new crew had some distinct personalities. I think the only character that I wish was stronger would be Blade. He was that typical mentor with a chip on his shoulder that has been in some of these other films. Having other vehicular films that use the same world make it hard to do different things with plots and characters, but I wish Blade had a little different personality to him.

Disneys-Planes-Fire-Rescue-Trailer-2-Thunder-2Windlifter had some great lines, but I was a little surprised at the possible stereotype. Aside from that, he was one of the funnier characters in the film. Dipper had funny quotes and was teetering on the edge of likeable and annoyance, which is the characterization she’s supposed to have…she’s a bit of a stalker for Dusty.

Seeing the movie in 3D was worth that effect. It was well used, and I like it when 3D is well used. The landscapes are majestic in this movie. Piston Peak is the national park the movie mostly takes place. It’s reminiscent of Yosemite, mostly. It is visually stunning. It’s a whole new level for this franchise, and even for Cars. It felt like a new setting from any of the other films. It all seemed well worked on. All the effects were great, too.

planes-fire-rescue-trailerOk, this may take a while to conclude. I’ll start with the one thing that is hard for me to get over. Dusty didn’t seem to grow up a lot in the film. He learns some things, but he seems to tread back on what makes things difficult for him. I wish that he grew more and would tackle this all differently. And it wasn’t clear if he learned well by the end.

I know that will deter some people from seeing the movie, but I’ve got to say I really enjoyed seeing it in the theater. What makes up for Dusty’s lack of growth was the idea that a couple of the characters had to sacrifice things for the good of everyone.
The finale had me on the edge of my seat. It was an epic rescue that was worthy of the title having that word in it.

Another thing I liked about this movie was how things fit together. I like when something or someone comes in and is referenced well later. When there’s someone for the sake of just having one joke, it’s usually not worth it. This didn’t waste people or things. It fit together.

So, what is my rating for this movie? I give it a 3 out of 5. It’s enjoyable, but not the greatest. Is it worth seeing in the theater? I think the big screen made it come alive really well. I’d give it higher, but that’d be out of my personal feelings. I’d rather give the recommendation that it’s something enjoyable, but not the most remarkable Disney movie. I know it’s not a monumental film, but I did enjoy it. It’s worth watching sometime, and I leave that up to you to make that decision of when.  Jokes were stronger than the first film.  Characters were mostly stronger.  Visually it’s more stunning than the first.  Again, consider seeing it if you’re looking for a very family friendly, and even different kind of animated film.  It was fun and entertaining.

Oh, and one little easter egg tidbit: I’m pretty sure I spotted Lightning McQueen in the lodge party scene.  See if you can spot him.

Until next time, have a marvelous day!