Planes: Fire and Rescue Archives

July 19, 2014

Review of Planes: Fire and Rescue


"Planes: Fire and Rescue," which opens in theaters this weekend, helps resuscitate the "Cars"-inspired franchise of animated movies that started last year with "Planes."

The biggest difference is that the sequel has an original story line. Unlike "Planes," the movie does not position its lead character, Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), to again rehash the popular racing saga of Lightning McQueen. When my family saw that movie last year, most of us agreed it felt tired and predictable -- obviously, with good reason.

That's not to say that "Fire and Rescue" isn't predictable, especially for older children and adults. It's easy to see the Disney formula at work, with the lead character facing a dilemma, then a life-threatening challenge, and finally a triumphant resolution. But this time, the journey keeps our interest a little better because we don't know how it all will play out.


In "Fire and Rescue," Dusty returns to the screen as a world racing champion, but he soon learns that his well-worn gear box is a liability for future competitions and he must find a new way to use his superior flight skills. Coincidentally, at the same time, his home airport is in need of another rescue vehicle. Without a new emergency plane on staff, the airport will be forced to close. To get certified, Dusty must train with an elite fleet of fire and rescue vehicles that are protecting national park forests from raging wildfires.

In creating this movie, Disney artists observed real aerial firefighting aircraft and smokejumpers. In fact, this version of Dusty Crophopper is based on a real-life pilot and his plane, which are stationed in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. Pilot Jesse Weaver and his Air Tractor AT-802F "Fire Boss" use 500 to 800 gallons of water or fire retardant to snuff out fires.

"The Fire Boss aircraft are the ones getting the toughest jobs, because we can do them successfully and safely. We often work in steep mountainous terrain. I'll be called to do all sorts of things, because my floats create drag that helps me go slow downhill, without building up too much speed," Weaver said in a press release.

"I definitely work closely with the guys on the ground. I'll lay down a line of fire retardant and they will support that line with their hand crews, [fire] engines or whatever they have on scene."

And seeing the true-to-life depictions of those serious and life-threatening situations keeps this movie interesting. It's not the typical setting for an animated movie, and viewing the West Coast forests from the sky is exciting, especially in 3D. Those who are familiar with the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World will chuckle when they see Fusa Lodge, which looks remarkably similar to the real-life hotel here in Orlando. Even the entry to the Piston Peak National Park looks like the entrance to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.


Still, the target audience for "Planes: Fire and Rescue" is young children. As such, the bathroom humor, easy jokes and bad puns hit their mark. The kids who were in the theater at our screening were laughing out loud. Parents joined them when the background of gruff veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voiced by Ed Harris) is revealed. Apparently, he was one of the co-stars of "CHoPs." Cue the music and references to '70s hit television show "CHiPs."

Although "Fire and Rescue" is an improvement over the original movie, I still think both animated shows are more suited to a direct-to-DVD release. But if parents and caregivers are willing to lower their expectations from the high bar recently set by the Disney big-screen hit, "Frozen," they may find "Fire and Rescue" to be a good break from the summer heat.

DISCLAIMER: I viewed "Planes: Fire and Rescue" at a media screening before its official release. This did not affect my review; my opinions are my own.


July 5, 2014

Disney Store hosts free events based on "Planes: Fire and Rescue" for kids in July


Beginning today, Disney Stores nationwide are celebrating Dusty and friends with free "Planes: Fire & Rescue" events on Saturdays in July. No registration is necessary.


At the events, children ages 3 and older can train to become Aerial Fire Fighters while learning about the story of "Planes: Fire & Rescue," which will be released in theaters on July 18. Kids will be taught these skills by store cast members:

** Fly low: Using a tarp, kids crawl under or walk as low as they can without touching the tarp.
** Parachute manipulation: Kids will toss a smokejumper with a parachute in the air and try to land it on a target.
** Rescue - Find and rescue deer (John Deere tractors) hidden in the store and bring them back to Piston Peak Air Attack Base.

Each participant will receive a certificate and character stickers -- Dipper, smokejumpers and Dusty -- to place on the certificate as each activity is finished. In addition, each child who completes the exercises will receive a "Planes: Fire & Rescue" balloon from Party City.

Training takes place at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. today (July 5) and July 12 and 19. Central Florida's only Disney Store, which is located at The Florida Mall, will be participating in the scheduled events.


Of course, Disney Store carries a large selection of merchandise from the upcoming animated movie, and it's already available. Parents can pick from backpacks and lunch boxes, T-shirts, pajamas, jackets, die-cast toy planes and helicopters, dishes and more. After perusing the selection online, I have to say one of my favorites is the boys' costume, which consists of a one-piece orange-and-gray coverall inspired by Dusty Crophopper, a headset that includes aviator sunglasses and cool sound effects, and coordinating sneakers.


I'm also tempted by the Duffy the Disney Bear Fireman that is available online and in Disney Parks. We spotted him recently at Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney Marketplace. Unfortunately, the fireman costume is not sold separately from the bear, though.

Kids who can't wait for the sequel to "Planes" can even purchase the storybook for "Planes: Fire and Rescue." The story picks up when Dusty is forced to switch from air racing to fighting wildfires -- for now, anyway.

You can read my review of "Planes" here, and I'll be bringing you my thoughts on the sequel, as well. The original "Planes" was aimed at very young viewers, and didn't offer their accompanying adults as much entertainment value. With a new director and presumably longer time for production work on the new film, though, I'm hopeful that "Planes: Fire and Rescue" will soar a little higher.


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About Planes: Fire and Rescue

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Planes: Fire and Rescue category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Planes is the previous category.

Saving Mr. Banks is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.