Thursday, July 17, 2014

'Planes: Fire and Rescue' Review

"I. Am. Amazed."

Those were the first three words out of CC's mouth after we caught a screening of Walt Disney Studios' "Planes: Fire & Rescue" earlier this week.

Both of us, in fact, were more than pleasantly surprised by the sequel to last year's "Planes" that hits theaters July 18.

Not only did writer Jeffrey M. Howard kick the story up a notch (actually, more than a notch), but the jokes were funnier and the graphics were especially gorgeous -- hats off to whoever decided to set this film in a fictional Yosemite National Park! (Happy 150th anniversary to the northern California park, btw!)

"Planes: Fire & Rescue" once again follows Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) as he's preparing for yet another race, after winning the around-the-world international championship in the 2013 film.

This time, though, things take an unfortunate turn as Dusty realizes he can't actually compete. (Don't want to give anything away, but let's just say that technical difficulties play a big part in his need to slow things down.)

Dusty's sadness leads to recklessness, which ultimately leads to a disastrous fire. In order for him to help repair the damage, he must train with fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and his Smokejumpers team up in the fictional version of Yosemite to make things right.

Blade's team includes Lil' Dipper (a hilarious Julie Bowen) and Native American plane Windlifter (Wes Studi).

While Dusty trains, he's able to check out the wonder -- and the perils -- that come with managing forest fires in a huge national park. He must put his ego in check as he learns a new set of skills and works as a rookie with a veteran group of firefighters.

The jokes in the film are clever -- as they retire to a vehicle-centric honky-tonk, one car rolls her eyes after a particularly lame come-on. "Pickup trucks," she sighs, exasperated.

The 3D film was definitely a fun summer movie, and the kiddos should enjoy it. Mine certainly did. Keep in mind that there is some peril, but the action and fun definitely help this sequel take flight.

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