<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Roberts Gannaway. Starring the voice talent of Dane Cook, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, Curtis Armstrong, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Wes Studi, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard and many more voiceover stars
The first Planes movie was supposed to go straight to DVD but didn’t, which was fine. This second one should go straight in the trashcan and burnt.
It’s horrifying that the studios could have allowed this horribly drab and formula film with no story, inspiration or motivation to be released. They just got greedy is my bet. The first Planes had spunk and was different and far better than the second Cars film. They were right with releasing that but Planes: Fire & Rescue is such mundane fare that only old people will find some of the stuff in here cute.
We all loved playing with toy cars and planes when we were kids (not today’s youngsters though, they want their iPads and PS3s). Inventing stories and animating those vehicles could keep us occupied for ages. And then DisneyToon Studios thought of Cars. A cool concept and the first one had its charm. The second one was just the same old thing rehashed with 3D. Planes was slightly different but still fun.
In Planes: Fire & Rescue we take off with our hero Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) in a race that causes him to malfunction with a worn out gear box that can’t be replaced thus cutting short his career as a racing plane. A fortuitous fire and an old fire truck called Mayday (Hal Holbrook) lead Dusty to an elite team of fire fighting planes and helicopters lead by Blade Ranger (Ed Harris). Dusty must qualify as a fire fighter to help save his town’s airport.
And so he sets out to join the quirky – and often irritating – band of ‘heroes’ who go about ditching fire inhibiting pink powder over small forest fires that threaten mostly a group of four ‘deer tractors’. And that’s about it until the finale when a bigger fire threatens a lodge full of cars and planes.
Let me just say how horribly irritating some of the voices in this film are. Julie Bowen as Dipper, the plane who has a crush on Dusty, is the most infuriating of them all. Her typical teenage doting candyfloss voice is so annoying I wanted to rip my ears off! In fact most of the characters have to over emote considering the lack of facial expressions that the ‘vehicles’ can well… express. But their dialogue is never interesting enough. It’s just cutesy and vacuous.
If only something could have saved Planes: Fire & Rescue from the unimaginative drivel and saccharin voice-overs! But not even the jam-packed stellar list of voiceover actors (most, big name TV stars) can make this film even marginally interesting since the plot and screenplay are monotonous and should have been burned after reading.
PS: I just read that a Malaysian Airlines plane crashed in Ukraine killing all aboard. Apologies if this film or review timing seem inappropriate. It would have been prudent of the filmmakers to have tackled something more important with this film considering ill-fated plane disasters are top of mind since the other Malaysian Airliner disappeared and still hasn’t been found.