|Planes: Fire & Rescue|
November 25, 2014
Planes: Fire & Rescue (also known as Planes 2: Fire & Rescue or simply as Planes 2) is the second film in the Planes trilogy, and the fourth film overall. Directed by Bobs Gannaway, produced by DisneyToon Studios and Ferrell Barron, and executive produced by John Lasseter, it was released in theaters on July 18, 2014 by Walt Disney Pictures.
Since winning the Wings Around the Globe Rally, Dusty Crophopper has a successful career as a racer. Unfortunately, his engine's gearbox becomes damaged due to too much over-revving. To make things worse, that type of gearbox is out of production, and none can be found anywhere, so he may never race again. Frustrated with mechanic Dottie's newly installed warning light to keep his engine performance low to prevent further damage, Dusty goes on a defiant flight testing his limits. Unfortunately in doing so, he has a hard landing with engine trouble at Propwash Junction's airport, causing a fire.
The residents put out the fire with some difficulty, but the accident leads to a government inspector named Ryker closing the airport due to inadequate firefighting personnel. Aggrieved at his carelessness, Dusty offers to undergo training to be certified as a firefighter to meet the necessary regulations to reopen the airport. To that end, Dusty travels to Piston Peak National Park, where he meets a fire and rescue crew under the command of a helicopter named Blade Ranger. The leader of an efficient unit, Blade is initially unimpressed by the small newcomer, and Dusty's training proves to be a difficult challenge.
Dusty's original undercarriage is replaced by two big scooping water tanks with retractable undercarriage wheels on their undersides. During training, Dusty learns that Blade was formerly an actor who played a police helicopter on the TV series CHoPs. Later, Dusty is devastated by a call from his friends at Propwash Junction noting that all attempts at finding a replacement gearbox have failed, and his racing career is over.
Depressed, Dusty's education falters to Blade's frustration, and things come to a head when Dusty makes a forced landing in a river during a fire dispatch and is swept through the rapids with Blade trying to extract him. Eventually, the pair make it to land, and Dusty confesses his physical disability, to which Blade advises Dusty not to give up. They shelter in an abandoned mine while a fire passes. The situation is complicated in that Blade is also damaged, from protecting Dusty in the fire, and is temporarily grounded for repairs. While Blade is recuperating, Dusty learns that Blade's co-star from CHoPs was killed during a stunt gone wrong on set that Blade was helpless to stop, so he decided to become a firefighter to save lives for real.
Lightning in a thunderstorm over a forest near Piston Peak starts several spot fires which unite into a serious forest fire, and the team fight it and seem to have extinguished it. But during the grand reopening of a local lodge, visiting VIPs fly too low and make air eddies which blow embers about, creating a larger fire. The national park's superintendent Cad Spinner selfishly diverts all the water supply to his lodge's roof sprinklers to prevent the lodge from burning, and so prevents the firefighters from making fire retardant for their own duties. With only their pre-existing tank loads, the firefighters manage to help the evacuees escape the fire while Dusty is alerted that two elderly campers, named Harvey and Winnie, are trapped on a burning bridge deep in the fire zone. He races to the scene, and is forced to push his engine to the maximum to climb vertically up a waterfall to refill his water tanks to drop water to save the campers, as the only other surface water near is a river too shallow and twisty and rocky for him to scoop from. Meanwhile, Blade shows up and assists the campers. Dusty successfully drops water and extinguishes the fire, but his overstressed gearbox fails completely, and he crashes.
Unconscious, Dusty is airlifted back to base, where he wakes up five days later to learn that not only has his structure been fully repaired, but the base mechanic has built a superior custom refurbished gearbox for his engine to allow full performance again. Impressed at Dusty's skill and heroism, Blade certifies him a firefighter. Propwash Junction is reopened with Dusty assuming his duty as a firefighter, celebrated with an aerial show with his new colleagues from Piston Peak.
During the end credits, it is shown that Cad's misconduct resulted in him being demoted and reassigned as a park ranger in Death Valley.
- Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper
- Stacy Keach as Skipper Riley
- Danny Mann as Sparky
- Julie Bowen as Lil' Dipper
- Brad Garrett as Chug
- Teri Hatcher as Dottie
- Curtis Armstrong as Maru
- Ed Harris as Blade Ranger
- Wes Studi as Windlifter
- Dale Dye as Cabbie
- Regina King as Dynamite
- Corri English as Pinecone
- Bryan Callen as Avalanche
- Danny Pardo as Blackout
- Matt Jones as Drip
- Fred Willard as Secretary of the Interior
- Jerry Stiller as Harvey
- Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom
- Anne Meara as Winnie
- Erik Estrada as Nick Loopin' Lopez
- John Michael Higgins as Cad Spinner
- Barry Corbin as Ol' Jammer
- Hal Holbrook as Mayday
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Ryker
- Patrick Warburton as Pulaski
- Brad Paisley as Bubba
- Kari Wahlgren as Patch
- René Auberjonois as André
- Steve Schirrpa as Steve
- Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger
- John Ratzenberger as Brodi
- Jamie Theakston as Pick-up Truck (UK version)
- Emma Bunton as Lady Car (UK version)
- Bear Grylls as Avalanche (UK version)
According to director/co-writer Roberts "Bobs" Gannaway, "The first film [directed by Klay Hall] was a race film. I wanted to look at a different genre, in this case, an action-disaster film." Production on Planes: Fire & Rescue began six months after the start of the previous film. "We’ve been working on this film for nearly four years." The filmmakers researched the world of air-attack teams and smokejumpers by working with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and sent a crew to the US Forest Services' annual training exercises for smokejumpers. Gannaway explained "We actually hooked cameras onto their helmets and had them drop out of the airplane so we could catch it on film." Nearly a year of research was done before the filmmakers started work on the story. The idea of Dusty becoming a fire and rescue plane was based on reality. Gannaway stated that during their research, they discovered that in 1955, crop dusters were among the first planes to be used in aerial fire-fighting, "There was a group of cropdusters who reworked their planes so they could drop water." Gannaway also noted that in the first film "Dusty is doing things to his engine that should not be done to it—he is stressing the engine out and causing severe damage. It’s great that the first movie teed this up without intending to. We just built on it, and the results were remarkable." Producer Ferrell Barron stated "I think we’ve all experienced some kind of loss at some point in our lives—an end of an era, a lost love, a failed career. We’ve all had to recalibrate. In Planes: Fire & Rescue, Dusty can’t go back to being a crop duster, he left that behind. He has to move forward."
Planes: Fire & Rescue was released in theaters on July 18, 2014. The second official trailer for the film was released on April 8, 2014. The film's premiere was held at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on July 15, 2014. No release date for the DVD and Blu-ray has been confirmed.
The film has been met with mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 44% based on 87 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Although it's too flat and formulaic to measure up against the best family-friendly fare, Planes: Fire and Rescue is a passable diversion for much younger viewers". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review, saying "Beautiful to look at, this is nothing more than a Little Engine That Could story refitted to accommodate aerial action and therefore unlikely to engage the active interest of anyone above the age of about 8, or 10 at the most." Justin Chang of Variety gave the film a positive review, saying "There are honestly stirring moments to be found in the movie's heartfelt tribute to the virtues of teamwork, courage and sacrifice, and in its soaring 3D visuals." Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "There are enough silly jokes and simple excitement here ... to keep the youngest ones interested, and a few mild puns to occasionally make the adults smile." Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, saying "There's a fire. And a rescue. And lots of static, TV-quality scenes that drably cut from one car or plane to another as they sit in garages and discuss the importance of believing in yourself." Soren Anderson of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Disney's Planes: Fire & Rescue isn't half bad. Kids should enjoy it and their parents won't be bored." Sara Stewart of the New York Post gave the film two out of four stars, saying "It's generic stuff, unless you're a kid who's really into playing with toy planes and trains and cars." Stephan Lee of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying "Canny references to '70s television and some genuinely funny moments will give grown-ups enough fuel to cross the finish line." A.A. Dowd of The A.V. Club gave the film a C-, saying "It's nice to look at, easy to watch, and impossible to remember for the length of a car-ride home."
Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Without the kindling of character development, Planes: Fire and Rescue is no smoldering success, but if Disney's flight plan is to share Pixar's airspace, it's getting warmer." Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film two out of four stars, saying "It's not a poor movie. But it's definitely a better movie for the kids." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two out of four stars, saying "With the lackluster quality of its characters - aircraft, a smattering of trucks, RVs and motorcycles - the movie makes Pixar's Cars and its sequel look like masterpieces." Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film three out of four stars, saying "There are a scattering of inside gags, asides and blink-and-you-missed-it details for the parents. The film's focus, though, is pleasing the milk-and-cookies crowd." Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Most DisneyToons releases are direct-to-video. That lowly status shows here in the pokey storytelling, dreadful score, and generally tired comedy." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, saying What this Disney feature lacks in the title department it makes up for with fluid visuals and fast-moving action of the, yes, firefighting variety." Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "For the most part, Planes: Fire & Rescue is more about chuckles than big guffaws, coupled with thrilling 3-D flight and firefighting action scenes and lessons about friendship, respect and loyalty." Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times gave the film a mixed review, saying "In 3-D, the firefighting scenes are visually striking - with plumes of smoke and chemical dust - though the backgrounds, like other aspects of the film, lack dimension."
Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Planes: Fire & Rescue is a good improvement over Planes, which Disney released last year. The story is stronger, there are some wonderful additions to the voice talent and the 3D cinematography is well-utilized." James Rocchi of The Wrap gave the film three out of four stars, saying "As it is in the merchandising aisle, so it is on the big screen: Planes: Fire and Rescue is precisely long, competent, and entertaining enough to be sold, and sold well." David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying "The animation in Planes: Fire & Rescue is considerably better, the landscapes grander, and the 3-D flight and firefighting scenes more exciting. But you get the same lame puns wedged into a succession of situations, rather than a story." Jordan Hoffman of the New York Daily News gave the film two out of five stars, saying "The meek action plays to the under-10 crowd, but the groaner puns will play only to masochists. Meanwhile, the 3-D ticket upcharge here is a big ripoff - the extra dimension is unnecessary." Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post gave the film a positive review, saying "Vivid and folksy, Fire & Rescue nicely exceeds expectations dampened by last summer's stalled-out Planes." Catherine Bray of Time Out gave the film one out of five stars, saying "Displaying a weird lack of memorable or endearing characters, this animated effort feels more like a direct-to-video job from the 1990s than a fully fledged John Lasseter–exec-produced theatrical release."
As of September 1, 2014, Planes: Fire & Rescue had grossed $57 million in North America, and $37.5 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $95.4 million. In North America, the film earned $6.29 million on its opening day, and opened to number three in its first weekend, with $17.5 million, behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Purge: Anarchy. In its second weekend, the film dropped to number five, grossing an additional $9.5 million. In its third weekend, the film dropped to number six, grossing $6 million. In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number ten, grossing $2.5 million.
Mark Mancina, who composed the music for the first film, returned for the sequel. In addition, Brad Paisley wrote and performed a song for the film titled "All In". Paisley also performed a song titled "Runway Romance", co-written by Bobs Gannaway and Danny Jacob. Spencer Lee performed an original song titled "Still I Fly". The soundtrack album was released on July 15, 2014.
It has been confirmed by Carlos Alazraqui that the Planes series will be a trilogy. A Disney staff member also stated that Planes 3 is in story development. Instead of publishing an Art of book for the first film, Chronicle Books published The Art of Planes (with art from the sequel) to coincide with the release of Planes: Fire & Rescue.
Besides the Planes series, DisneyToon is considering to make more spin-offs that would feature other vehicles like boats and trains, and which may go into production if Planes is well received. John Lasseter said: "I kept thinking about—I’m a big train fanatic. I love trains. And I started thinking about trains, and boats and airplanes. And I kept wanting to have more and more of those type of characters. [...] It’s one of the ideas, that there will be an ongoing series. It almost starts getting into this thing where we fall in love with these plane characters, we want to see more and more stories with them. And then you start doing other vehicles and stuff like that. Yeah. So it kind of is a bigger idea that can keep expanding."
- Dinoco cans are seen in the Honkers bar.
- Aside from the new title, the Planes logo appears to have a few small changes. For example:
- The silver metal has been changed to bronze.
- The small star below the title "Planes" has been changed to a sort of firehouse symbol, or the number "2" for countries where the film is titled Planes 2.
- Planes: Fire & Rescue is the fourth entry in the Cars franchise. More Cars films are planned for the future, such as Planes 3 and Cars 3.
- In addition to car-ification and plane-ification, some aspects of Piston Peak National Park appear to be train-ified.
- Known as a SEAT (Single Engine Air Tanker), crop dusters were among the first wildfire air attack aircraft. The first operational air tanker was a repurposed crop duster, which made the first air drop on the Mendocino National Forest in 1955.
- Blade Ranger and Windlifter are both helicopters, so filmmakers turned to world-renowned aerobatic helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron to ensure they captured the helicopter flight authentically. Blade Ranger pulls some tricky maneuvers in the film that were reviewed and validated by Aaron.
- The film’s setting is inspired by elements from a host of national parks, including Yosemite and Yellowstone.
- National Parks Director Jonathan Jarvis was invited to DisneyToon Studios to view the film. He was thrilled with the attention to detail like the inclusion of rocking chairs in front of the fireplace.
- Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn served as inspiration for the film’s Grand Fusel Lodge.
- The railway station attached to the Grand Fusel Lodge was inspired by an actual station that once existed near Yellowstone’s north entrance and was designed by Robert Reamer, the architect of the Old Faithful Inn.
- Playing upon the theme of second chances and based on filmmakers’ real-life observations during research trips to aerial firefighting stations, much of the Piston Peak Air Attack Base set is made up of repurposed structures. Filmmakers learned that budgets are traditionally stretched by reusing items, so they incorporated the practice in Planes: Fire & Rescue. Maru is the ringleader when it comes to repurposing, repeating the mantra, ‘It’s better than new.’
- A picture of Lightning McQueen is seen on a racing newspaper that Sparky was reading, while Sarge was seen on a photo in Mayday's garage.
- Mayday states that he uses Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment.
- The "red stuff" being dropped from the airplanes is Long Term Fire Retardant called Phos-Chek. It has been used by the US Forest Service for 50 years, and is used to create a containment line around a wildfire. It is dropped as a liquid, and will remain effective until it is washed off by heavy rain. The red color is used so pilots can see where to drop the next load to tie in with the line of previous drops.
- Blade Ranger was in a series called CHoPs (about the California Helicopter Patrol) with his partner Nick Lopez. Lopez is voiced by Erik Estrada, who played Ponch in the real TV series CHiPs (about the California Highway Patrol). Additionally, CHiPs and the fictional CHoPs both lasted for 139 episodes (in the hangar, Dipper describes the show as "139 episodes of law-breaking love"). Also, animator Piero Piluso watched every episode of CHiPs to ensure the accuracy of CHoPs.
- The "Howard the Truck" video is a parody of Howard the Duck, a 1986 film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.
- Animators created more than 2.5 million trees.
- 1,224 shots are featured in the movie, and half had visual effects.
- The film is dedicated to the courageous firefighters who risk their lives every day.
- The Honkers bar is a parody of the real-life Hooters.
- During the lodge evacuation scene, there is a biplane trying to get its engine started so it can take off. The propeller blades on the biplane are obviously pitched in the wrong direction to pull the airplane forward with the engine running, and would push it backwards instead.
- In the movie, the red and green navigation lights are visible from aircraft in positions where they would not be visible in real life. The red light would be visible only through an arc of 110 degrees from straight ahead to port. The green light would be visible only through an arc of 110 degrees from straight ahead to starboard. This means that you would only see both read and green navigation lights if you were looking head on to the aircraft, and would see neither red nor green if within an arc of 140 degrees centered on straight behind (70 degrees either side).