A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: July 18, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: November 4, 2014
- Cast: Dane Cook, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris
- Director: Roberts Gannaway
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action and some peril
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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