Planes: Fire and Rescue: Movie ReviewVocal cast: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen
Director: Roberts Gannaway
It's back to the skies for the second outing for the franchise Planes.
In this latest, which is dedicated to the work done by firefighters all around the world, Dane Cook returns as Dusty Crophopper.
After winning the round the world race from the first film, life's looking good for ole Dusty. But on learning that his gearbox is on the way out if he continues to race, he's forced into an early retirement and his rise to fame is grounded before it's really begun.
However, rather than accept retirement, Dusty heads into the world of aerial firefighting after starting a major blaze and causing the airfield to close down. But Dusty faces a rough ride as he tries to persuade the leader of the unit Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) that he's good enough for the job...
Planes: Fire And Rescue is a depressingly dull piece of formulaic computer animation that seems to have been put together by committee rather than with passion, vim and vigour.
The whole thing feels flat, lacks any real oomph and fails to remotely get off the ground, even though the creators are obsessed with using as many shots of the characters hurtling through the air to a piece of middle of the road music.
Despite throwing in a few corny puns here and there (quick gags about a boat superstar called Boat Reynolds being one of the more memorable), there's not enough to really grab hold of; and there are certainly not enough memorable characters to resonate with the kids long after the movie's done.
DisneyToons has certainly fired enough different kinds of creations to populate this world - from fire trucks, to daredevil young firefighters to a loving old RV couple - but it's stopped short of breathing any real life into them and injecting any kind of character, which proves to be the piece's fatal flaw.
Outside of some truly beautiful firefighting sequences within the National Park as Dusty's training, there's very little to satiate the eyes or the brain which is a real shame. Once again, the message of self-belief and pushing yourself get a look in, but the 3D in the piece feels largely wasted and redundant - both in the visuals and also in the characters themselves. It's hard to believe that this is executive produced by John Lassetter of Pixar because there's hardly any real heart within or anything to lift into life high above the skies.
The very younger end of the spectrum may enjoy parts of Planes: Fire and Rescue, and it's certainly good intentioned (although the dedication to the firefighters would have been better served up at the end), but it's just that this movie isn't cleared for lift off on the runway before it's even begun to taxi.