Released on July 18th, 2014, Planes: Fire & Rescue is the sequel to Planes. Planes are not only a spin-off to the Cars franchise. It also takes place in the same realm.
After winning the Wings Around the Globe, in Planes, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) continued to race to have a successful career but due to constantly pushing himself beyond his limits, his gearbox gets damaged beyond repair. Unfortunately, that part is old and no longer being made. His mechanic Dottie tries to help by installing a warning light into his control panel but this angered Dusty. Dusty again turned to the sky and tested his limits when told not to. He pushed too much that he caught on fire and had to make an emergency landing at Propwash Junction. The residents helped Dusty put out the fire but unfortunately, it caused Inspector Ryker (Kevin Michael Richardson) to close the airport due to the insufficient firefighting personnel.
Feeling guilty about his actions, Dusty lets them know that he will train to be a firefighter so they can reopen the airport. Dusty then flies to Piston National Park where he will train with the fire and rescue crew under their commander Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), a helicopter. Maru (Curtis Armstrong), the team’s mechanic, helps Dusty transform by replacing his undercarriage with two pontoons and retractable wheels. Dusty trained long and hard as a new single-engine air tanker. During one of their training, Dusty learns that Blade once played the lead police copter in a tv series CHopS. Later that night, Dusty gets a call from Propwash Junction, letting him know that they had no luck in finding a new gearbox. Officially all his hopes for recovering his racing career were over. During the night, a thunderstorm rolls through the park, lightning strikes several spots in the forest, sparking a serious fire. The team is called in to extinguish it. They return to base but due to low flying VIPs for the grand reopening of the lodge, re-sparked a bunch of embers. The fire grows bigger than before forcing the lodge to evacuate.
Flying back out to control the fire, Dusty falters. Dusty lands in a river to reload his tanks when being swept into the rapids. Blade rescues him and they land, taking shelter in an abandoned mine as the fire passes. Dusty tells Blades about his gearbox. Blades tells him to never give up and always push through. Unfortunately, Blades is grounded due to injuring himself while saving Dusty. While Blades recovers, Maru tells Dusty how Blades became a firefighter after watching his costar Nick Lopez (Erik Estrada) die doing a stunt and feeling helpless.
The fire soon threatens the lodge, in a desperate attempt to save his building, Cad Spinner (John Michael Higgins), the superintendent uses the entire water supply for the roof sprinklers. It left the firefighters with only what was remaining in their tanks. They have just enough to help the rest evacuate. Dusty is told to help two campers who are trapped on a burning bridge. Blades assists by holding up the bridge while Dusty pushes himself to fly up the waterfall to refill since the river was too shallow and twisty. Dusty was able to get the campers, Harvey (Jerry Stiller) and Winnie (Annie Meara) through before his engine started to collapse. Dusty tries to land but one of his pontoons hits a tree, causing him to crash.
Dusty is airlifted back to base where Maru has helped him by building him better than ever. Waking up five days later, Dusty learns that he can now fully perform his duties and that Blades has certified him as a firefighter. Propwash Junction has reopened under Dusty’s care and Cade Spinner was demoted to park ranger of Death Valley. They celebrate with an aerial show.
While Planes: Fire and Rescue was better than Planes, and neither one part of the Cars franchise despite it feeling like. Having Dusty and Blade Ranger as a due worked much better than the racing. That being said, it still wasn’t a popular movie. Of course there are valuable lessons that children can learn from. It is a goof family movie for a rainy day or on a lesson on fire safety but not my top pick.
Be sure to mark March 17th to get your copy of The Disney Pixar Connection.