Planes: Fire & Rescue

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Fire PHOTOWith animated movies, you can’t get excited by the talent assembled to do voices. Seriously, how could you not be excited by this list? There’s Ed Harris as Blade Ranger, along with Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Regina King, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard, Teri Hatcher, and three voices that should always be doing voice-over work: Brad Garrett, Hal Holbrook, and John Ratzenberger. He was Cliff in Cheers, and has been in every animated movie since then.

For fans of older TV shows – there’s Erik Estrada from CHiPs, as well as Curtis Armstrong of Moonlighting (probably more well known as “Booger” in Revenge of the Nerds). Yet it’s Cedric the Entertainer who always makes me laugh most. I don’t know what it is, but even in movies with awful scripts, the way he delivers his lines crack me up.

The first Planes last year was bad, but still made $220 million. It was a spin off of Cars, and this is now the crop of crap we’re going to get from Disney when they know they have a cash cow. Sure, it’s a bit better than the 2013 movie, but it’s far from being good.

The visuals are beautiful and the uplifting and encouraging themes (believing in yourself, etc) are fine for the young ones that never read The Little Engine That Could. It won’t work for anybody else. A few cute puns won’t make it worth the adults time, although you may not have a choice if you’ve got children in that age range.

The story has Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a single-engine prop plane that’s won a few air races, having problems with a gear box. It’s in need of major repairs. Since his parts are no longer made, he’s told to slow things down a bit. He hangs around with some other older planes and machines that are past their prime. Blade Ranger is their leader. There’s a female air tanker named Lil’ Dipper, and a character that surprised me to see. He’s called Windlifter, an old fire truck that does this Native American broken English voice. It’s strange that we keep talking about the Washington Redskins changing their name because it’s offensive, but there’s a character like this in a Disney movie.

Yes, the film has a few fart jokes. Not sure why that’s a requirement in so many kids movies these days. The first one is five minutes into the film.

One of the funnier exchanges, where a truck in a bar asks a woman if she was dropped from a B-52 because “You are the bomb” was cute. So was her comeback of “Pick-up trucks.” Yet as usual, we saw that in the commercials.

A few clever puns, nice animation, and lively score (Mark Mancina) don’t make this worth rushing out for.

The Brad Paisley songs did nothing for me, and again – unless you have kids between the ages of four and eight, you should probably skip this.

It gets 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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