Planes: Fire & Rescue

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
Planes: Fire & Rescue Movie Poster Image
Much-improved 3D sequel has some intense fire scenes.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 83 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Planes: Fire and Rescue gives kids a glimpse of what it’s like to be a firefighter or smokejumper. They also learn a bit about fire safety and what it means to dedicate your life to other people.

Positive Messages

Planes: Fire and Rescue is about the sacrifice that firefighters make every day. They put their lives at risk so others can be safe and are heroes not because they have special powers but because they do their jobs and cooperate with the team. There's also a strong emphasis on community and working together, as well as accepting the consequences of your mistakes and learning from them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The firefighting planes put their lives at risk to keep people safe and protect the national park. Dusty realizes that sometimes life doesn’t work out as planned, and he has to think of others over himself. The firefighters are determined to fight fires and save those in danger, no matter what the personal cost. Blade Ranger, who leads the firefighting team, teaches Dusty the value of being prepared, safe, and aware of others. Dusty's friends at home are as supportive of him as ever. On the other hand, while there aren’t as many stereotypes as there were in Planes, there are a few. Windlifter is a wise, strong, unflappable Native American helicopter, and hauler plane Lil' Dipper -- the sole major female character in the sequel -- instantly becomes obsessed with Dusty (making a few inappropriate comments that will likely go over younger kids’ head). A shiny SUV that runs the new lodge is focused on status and attention. He puts his everyone's lives in danger in order to save the lodge building -- but his actions are clearly presented as selfish and wrong, and he suffers the consequences.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent scenes of peril, mostly due to scary wildfires. (Possible spoiler alerts ahead!) Many different vehicle characters are in peril at different times; two are in particular danger when they're trapped on a bridge and surrounded by fire (they make a harrowing escape in the nick of time). The firefighter planes repeatedly fly into smoke and burning embers; the smokejumper vehicles are temporarily trapped in one instance. Dusty crashes into the river (and is caught up in the rapids approaching a waterfall) and a lake, getting extremely banged up in the process. Dusty and Blade become trapped in an old mine while the fire rages around them, and they fear they might suffocate; Blade sustains serious damage from heat and debris. There's a wall with pictures of planes that have crashed; viewers find out that includes a friend of Blade’s that died years earlier. Early in the movie, Dusty flies off angrily and has a rough, near-crash landing that ends up causing a fire in Propwash Junction; some moments of tension as he and his friends work on putting it out.

Sexy Stuff

Lil' Dipper forms an aggressive crush on Dusty and often talks about going on dates with him. She makes a few other mildly suggestive comments ("they're real" in reference to a couple of her parts, etc.), and when they go to a party at the park's lodge, she talks about sharing a room with Dusty and the children they'd have together. During a flashback scene, Blade Ranger is seen in a TV show called CHoPs where he and his partner helicopter pick up two "twin" cars. A "pickup truck" tries to hit on another car in a bar. An older motor home couple discusses their romance and engagement.

Language

A few phrases meant to suggest swearing -- like "oh, Chevy" and "I kicked Aston-Martin." Also "shut the hangar door" and a couple of insults, including "dumb" and "bumper kisser." Also a little crude, gas-related humor.

Consumerism

While there are no actual brands in the movie, there are many off screen tie-ins, from toys to clothes to games to food. Some of the movie's brands are meant to suggest real-life equivalents -- like "Honkers" bar, the TV show CHoPS, the movie Howard the Truck, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The planes socialize in a bar-like hanger and at a swanky lodge, drinking from from cans of motor oil, which they sometimes buy for each other like drinks. Reference to a "motor-jito."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Planes: Fire and Rescue is the superior 3D sequel to Planes. There are several perilous firefighting/rescue scenes (including one in which the heroes are boxed in by a fire and fear they might suffocate) that could upset younger children, especially when viewed in 3D. The firefighters routinely put their lives at risk as they swoop into the raging wildfires, and there's mention that some don’t make it back (late in the movie, one specific sad death is referred to). There are a few stereotypes, including a boy-crazy female firefighter plane who borders on stalking Dusty (and makes some mildly suggestive comments -- i.e. "they're real" in reference to some of her parts) and a wise, strong Native American helicopter, but cultural stereotypes aren't as prevalent as they were in the original Planes. Essentially, the movie is a beautifully animated tribute to the men and women who put their lives at risk to keep the national parks safe.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypbody August 11, 2014
Parent of a 4 year old Written bymolepoblano July 19, 2014

Good, not too scary

My 4 1/2 year old is a big fan of Planes, so of course we had to see this. These are the only two movies he has actually seen in theaters. I'm VERY picky... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRotten Tomatoes July 17, 2014
Teen, 14 years old Written bywww.cinemark.com July 22, 2014

What's the story?

Racing champion and former crop duster Dusy Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) is training for his next race when he discovers that his gearbox is damaged. The replacement part is out of production, which means he might not be able to race anymore. In a fit of self-pity, Dusty accidentally starts a fire that closes down the Propwash Junction airport. In order to fix his mess, he must go to firefighter training at Piston Peak National Park. There he's trained by the reluctant Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), a helicopter who isn't impressed by the racing champ. Blade's crew includes smokejumpers, an air tanker, a cargo plane, and a military helicopter. Dusty works hard, and when a wildfire rages through the park, he and the crew must come together to save Piston Peak and its tourists.

Is it any good?

PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE is notably better than Planes. The animation (now in 3D) is drastically improved, the characters are likeable and interesting, and the action is intense, with a lot at stake. Kids will find the story and visuals exciting, and parents won’t be bored -- especially during the incredible scenes set in Piston Peak National Park, which appears to be a cross between Yosemite and Yellowstone.

The story is also better, and the characters are more compelling (with fewer stereotypes) than in the first movie. The planes are out there to do good work, not just win a race. There are cute pop culture references, too: like the show that Blade Ranger used to star in, called CHoPs, and the use of a classic AC/DC song during a firefighting scene. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Planes: Fire and Rescue's message. What does Dusty learn this time around? How does it compare to what he learned in the first Planes?

  • Discuss the training, determination, and discipline required to become a firefighter. Did you realize what it takes?

  • Dusty had a dream of long career as a champion racer. When that changed, it took him a while to accept that he might need to alter his plans. What would you do if you couldn’t follow your dream?

  • Disney has licensed lots of Planes toys, clothes, and games. Does seeing merchandise in stores make you want to see a particular movie?

Movie details

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