Planes: Fire & Rescue – Movie Review

Category: Movies

planes posterHe’s back! That cute little crop duster who became a worldwide racing hero returns for a second feature film. Dusty Crophopper is just as eager to keep flying and showing off as ever, but when something happens, his life suddenly changes. Planes: Fire & Rescue is the next chapter in the life of little Dusty.


“Life doesn’t always go the way you expect it,” Dusty is eventually told by one of his new friends.


When flying high and showing off, Dusty has a malfunction. It turns out his gear box is bad, and worse yet, that model is out of production. If his friends cannot locate another one, this little fellow is not going to race at high speeds ever again. Feeling depressed, he tries to prove that he can still fly like before, but ends up causing an accident in Propwash Junction, causing a fire to erupt and eventually the airport to be shut down. The authorities insist unless Mayday gets another firefighter, they will not reopen.


This begins the next chapter of Dusty’s life. He decides to help his buddy and become an air tanker to get the airport reopened. The little guy goes to train with the Aerial Fire Fighters at Piston Peak Air Attack Base. He is determined to become a SEAT (single engine air tanker).




Piston Peak is a popular National Park. Along with the rest of the crew, Dusty gets first hand training in fighting fires. Yes, his stubbornness and arrogance often get the better of him, but he has a big heart and works tirelessly to learn the trade.




The filmmakers didn’t just make a cute little animated movie for kids. This is something adults will enjoy as well, and that’s due to the research and authenticity they put into the characters and scenes. For Piston Peak, they combined Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. For the characters in the air attack squad, they went to the pros. Yes, the movie has animated planes, trains, and automobiles, but once it starts they are just as real life as their human counterparts in the flesh-and-blood world.




As Dusty was told when he was depressed, “Life doesn’t always go the way you expect it.” However Blade Ranger adds, “But you came here to become a firefighter. If you give up today, think of all the lives you won’t save tomorrow.” The movie is dedicated to the brave men and women who fight the fires and save property and lives.


The Characters


Dusty is a likeable little guy, voiced by Dane Cook. There are rumors he will return for a third movie.


Blade Ranger heads up the attack team at Piston Peak. “He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy,” says Ed Harris who voices the brave helicopter.


Julie Bowen voices Dipper. This little air tanker immediately takes a liking to Dusty.


Windlifter is filled with Cherokee wisdom. This heavy-lift helicopter always has words of faith and calmness, and a sixth sense. He’s voiced by Wes Studi.


Fun Facts


If you think you recognize some of the characters, you’re right. They are based on and inspired by real planes and automobiles.


The Air Tractor 502, Cessna and the Air Dromader inspired Dusty. The Sikorsky Skycrane, a Karnov KA-26, and a Mil MI-10 inspired Windlifter. Mayday is based on the Fordson Tender (circa 1943). Cabbie is based on a C-119. The Secretary of the Interior has the look of a 1968 Ford Bronco. You’ll undoubtedly see others on screen that resemble planes, cars, and locations you recognize. The Grand Fusa Lodge (isn’t that a clever name?) at Piston Peak National Park was modeled after Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. Keep your eyes open during the show for other recognizable things, including the two motor homes.


Planes: Fire & Rescue is cleverly written. It’s filled with moments where audiences will forget they’re watching machines, and animated machines at that. These fellows have grit, courage, and love. There is amazing animation and scenery throughout the film. The movie runs 88 minutes and is rated PG for action and some peril. While no one dies, there are some close calls, however I don’t believe kids will be traumatized by these scenes but keep that in mind.