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Roberts Gannaway
Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher , Cedric the Entertainer
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey M. Howard

When others fly out, heroes fly in.

When Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he joins a forest fire and rescue unit to be trained as a firefighter.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$17,509,407 on 3,826 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Video Service 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 11/4/2014

• “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular” Animated Short
• “Welcome to Piston Peak!” Featurette
• “ChoPs” TV Promo
• “Air Attack: Firefighters from the Sky” Featurette
• Two Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Intros
• Music Video
• Two Animated Shorts
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Planes: Fire and Rescue [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 29, 2014)

When Planes reached screens in summer 2013, it didn’t set the world on fire, but it didn’t need to be a big hit. An extension of the “world of Cars”, the film came with a relatively low budget and did just well enough to spawn a sequel.

The second chapter arrives with 2014’s Planes: Fire and Rescue. Once again, we meet Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook). As his name implies, Dusty’s a crop-duster, but as seen in the first film, he blossomed into a racing plane, one who won a major worldwide competition. Alas, Dusty’s racing career appears destined to end prematurely after he learns that he damaged an engine.

Faced with the end of that dream, one might expect Dusty to return to crop-dusting, but the feisty little flyer has other plans. Rather than go back to his old job, Dusty joins a team of fire and rescue planes called the Smokejumpers. Dusty learns the ropes from crew chief Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and embarks on dangerous new adventures.

Man, how many ways can these movies find to team plucky young vehicles with wise old mentors? In Cars, Lightning got tutored by veteran racer Doc Hudson, and in Planes, Dusty learned from veteran fighter plane Skipper. Here Dusty starts over and finds himself educated by Blade Ranger.

What this tells us is that one shouldn’t expect an especially creative narrative from Rescue - and by that I mean one should anticipate a by-the-numbers tale with little to make it stand out from the crowd. On the surface, it should be interesting to see Dusty change careers, but the entire premise feels absurdly contrived. The first film stretched credulity with its “cropduster turned racer” premise, but now it gets even more ridiculous, as it seems like the series will transform Dusty into whatever it wants to suit a story conceit.

Yeah, I recognize I’m questioning the logic of plot/character areas in a movie about anthropomorphic vehicles, but just because a film opts for a fantasy setting, that doesn’t mean we must swallow every contrivance it throws our way. I can take a lot in flicks such as this, but the decision to give Dusty a radical career shift just seems goofy.

Would I come across as cynical if I believed that Rescue altered Dusty’s path largely to sell more toys? After all, the new characters/settings allow for lots of variations on the old planes and cars – cha-ching!

Even if we ignore that possible financial motivation, Rescue falters because it remains so thin and forgettable. It attempts the usual adventure and comedy but with diminishing returns. If the first Planes lacked much creative inspiration, the sequel seems even less compelling. The story appears to exist largely to allow for action scenes, and the tale doesn’t tend to go much of anywhere.

All of this leaves Rescue as a banal, “by the numbers: animated effort. It doesn’t ever become a bad film, but it lacks enough creativity and cleverness to make it more than mediocre.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus C-

Planes: Fire and Rescue appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Like the first film, Rescue presented excellent visuals.

At all times, the movie displayed strong sharpness. If any softness materialized, I didn’t see it, as I thought this was a tight, distinctive image. No signs of shimmering or jagged edges occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the image.

Because the first movie offered a wider variety of settings, it came with a broader palette. Nonetheless, the colors of Rescue looked terrific; they gave us an earthy feel with consistently rich, full tones. Blacks appeared deep and dense, and low-light shots seemed smooth and clear. I found an impressive transfer here.

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Rescue soared. It came with a wide variety of sequences that gave us chances for vivid material, and it brought those out in a satisfying way. The movie used the many flight scenes to allow elements to zoom around the room, and quieter scenes still came with nice environmental material that seemed convincing. All of these combined in a lively manner that used the speakers to immerse us in the film.

Audio quality was solid. Music appeared vivid and rich, with good highs and warm lows. Speech was consistently distinctive and natural, while effects showed great range. Those elements appeared accurate and dynamic, as they packed a strong punch. Everything worked nicely here to form a strong soundtrack.

When we shift to the set’s extras, we open with a new animated short called Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular. It runs five minutes, 55 seconds and features a show in which Dusty impersonates a famous daredevil. Nothing great emerges but the piece offers minor amusement.

Welcome to Piston Peak! fills two minutes, 49 seconds. This reel displays a fake 1950s-style ad for the tourist attraction. It becomes another cute, enjoyable addition.

With the CHoPs TV Promo, we find a 45-second clip that promotes the 1970s series mentioned in the movie. Like the last two elements, this one seems enjoyable enough.

During the four-minute, 47-second Air Attack: Firefighters from the Sky, we find notes from director Bobs Gannaway, producer Ferrell Barron, Smoke Jumpers Ops Manager Luis Gomez, CAL FIRE battalion chief Travis Alexander and aerobatic helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron. They talk about research for the movie as well as the real-life exploits of the rescue workers who acted as influences for the story. Expect a fluffy tribute without much content.

Two Deleted Scenes appear; including filmmaker introductions, they occupy a total of four minutes, 32 seconds. We see “Honkers” (2:28) and “Dusty’s Dream No More” (1:51). Both come fairly early in the film, as they precede Dusty’s decision to become a fire and rescue worker. Both seem watchable but they don’t contribute any material of real value.

In their intros, Gannaway and Barron give us a little background. They set up the sequences and provide decent thoughts about them.

A music video appears for Spencer Lee’s “Still I Fly”. It mixes recording studio footage of Lee with shots from the movie. Both the song and the video seem dishwater dull.

Finally, we get two animated shorts. This area includes Dipper (1:45) and Smoke Jumpers (1:44). I hoped this domain would provide classic Disney cartoons with themes connected to Rescue, but instead, these two are direct extensions of the film’s universe. “Dipper” features that character’s online dating profile – and her unlikely match – while “Jumpers” shows an adventure with those personalities. Both seem moderately entertaining.

The disc opens with ads for Big Hero 6 and the Frozen Sing-Along Edition. Sneak Peeks adds promos for Disney Stores, Star Wars: Rebels and Maleficent. No trailer for Rescue pops up here.

The package also provides a DVD copy of Rescue. It includes “Vitaminamulch” and the music video but lacks the other extras.

Like its predecessor, Planes: Fire and Rescue seems watchable but forgettable. The sequel comes across more like a platform for toy sales than anything else, so whatever entertainment it produces seems semi-incidental. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a smattering of decent bonus materials. Kids will probably enjoy this colorful adventure but adult animation fans should look elsewhere.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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