Another weekend, another Disney movie in the form of inanimate objects being brought to life and giving them personality. My first film to review is a pickup of a Pixar abandoned world that transitioned from the hard paved racetrack to the free roaming wilderness of the open sky. You have guessed it, my movie is on the latest Disney sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue, a movie that many see as another addition to the world of kid’s movies to appease a growing population. Is this the simple stereotypical kid’s film or does it stand out from the flood? Let’s cut the chatter and get to the review.
Let’s face it, the one certainty you have when it comes to Planes is it is going to be kiddy and they meet your expectations. Disney has made a nice friendly movie, lacking the secret naughty jokes that adults love, for good simple fun in a nice convenient package, where everything happens in just the right circumstances to drive the story. The colorful world will grab most children’s attention, depending on their energy level, and leave their eyes wide with excited fun. The animation is hands down impressive, a nice collage of anthropomorphic movements interlaid with smooth flying through a beautiful world as they start to catch up to their former partners. My favorite parts of the movie involved the majestic flights through the generated world of canyons, lakes, and forests, often putting us in a first person perspective that makes you feel you are in the cockpits and perhaps a little dizzy. To help give it some suspense, the planes dive into some turbulent skies as the fires, which seems to start up so quickly, create a dark haze for our cast to travel in. While kids may get tense, and our brave men and women of service may appreciate the “edge”, it did lack some edge, more on that later.
Now you might be thinking, “This is Disney, surely something sad has to happen that will make my little one cry?” Well surprise, surprise Planes flies over the depressing twist and keeps the movie lighthearted for the most part. With the opening message and dedication to the brave fire fighters, you expected a little more drama to drive the plot, yet Disney chose to keep the fun going with as little stress as possible. While this should keep your kids laughing and smiling, or in some cases running across the theater mimicking the planes, it leads to a simplistic film that may leave older audience members bored. Planes lacks a lot of excitement and zest that some of the previous Disney films contained, that creative spark that entertained us for so many years lost to the lower threshold of entertainment we have all set for ourselves. Now this doesn’t mean all is lost, for Planes has some rather witty puns that had me chuckling from time to time, but aside from that the humor is based on your ability to appreciate cultural references and how child like your humor is. The good news though, is that parents won’t have to spend too much time in this light hearted movie, for it runs less than 90 minutes, which is a great time span for a movie such as this.
So what else is worth mentioning about this film? Let’s talk a little about the voice acting. Planes Fire and Rescue stars Dane Cook, the crude comedian again diverging from his usual stand up to give a mediocre performance. The animation, more than the voice acting, captivates the emotion more, but Cook’s monotone voice is easy to understand and fitting for the character. Ed Harris does a nice job as the stern trainer, somehow being harsh, but packing wisdom and experience that mimics his years on the Silver screen. Fans of Modern Family will be happy to see, or hear in this case, Julie Bowen whose overdramatic/overacted character has been captured in plane form. The audience was laughing at her delivery, her character both creepy and yet endearing as she tried to guide Dusty through his training. Yet my favorite voice was from former Nerd Curtis Armstrong, whose rough, cut to the point, honesty never gets old for this reviewer, especially when it comes out of a little pipsqueak like Maru. Voice acting aside, the designs of the characters is well done, taking common patterns and colors of rescue vehicles and crafting them into symbols that match the ethnicity they represented mainly for the Native American helicopter.
Planes is a fun, family adventure that brings joy, happiness, and very layman humor that will entertain the young. Again the visuals are nice, the story very easy to follow, and the world colorful and fun, with little emotional diversity. Yet, Disney could have easily made this one of their original movies, and put it on TV, not only sparing us a carbon copy of their teenage romantic plots, but also saving us some money as well. My suggestion in to forego this movie, unless you really need something to curb your children’s energy, or you are just looking for simple animation. Otherwise save your money and stay home in the comforts of your own home, waiting for a few other films coming in the new few weeks.
My scores for Planes are:
Movie Overall: 5.0