I didn't think the first Planes actually did enough to get itself a sequel... not that I hated it or anything, I just didn't see the kids coming out in droves the same way they do for other animated properties. But still, the Disney machine found a reason to make another one, so here it is... Planes: Fire and Rescue.
I actually wound up liking the premise for this one. Basically, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) discovers he can't race anymore or his engine will seize (Wow! That's some pretty tough stuff to throw at a bunch of kids). So he has to look for something else to do with his life. And through the brilliance of movie magic, he is practically forced into the world of firefighting. It's a somewhat romantic idea that the great celebrity racer has to grow up one day and learn to do something that actively helps society. But there's one problem. If his engine would seize under the strenuous conditions of racing... it'll probably seize under the even more strenuous conditions of firefighting. Weird that no one would take the time to mention this... until it actually becomes an issue... at least I find that weird.
But let's ignore that for now. The voice work is pretty solid. I really liked Ed Harris' performance as Blade Ranger. Yet there's still a major disconnect (like in Cars) watching vehicles living in what otherwise looks like a human world. Especially when we get to the campfire sequence and realize everyone has to drink their beverages out of straws because literally none of them are capable of picking the cups up for themselves. At some point that just begins to feel lazy. I'm sure they could've found a better way to do that scene without that bit of awkwardness... unless the crew working on the movie just thought this was some hysterical little joke. Sorry to say, I'm not on board with that.
Regardless, there were several quality moments in the film and the recognition that we can't be cutting the budgets to our most crucial public services helped to keep me on board with the movie. But then the movie ended... and Dusty hadn't learned any real lesson about his body. He had worked himself beyond his limits and I think there was a really interesting lesson that could have been taught there. But laziness completely took over the final sequence of the movie... it felt like the filmmakers were saying, just keep doing exactly what you've been doing and eventually everything will just fix itself. And for that alone I will likely never watch this movie again. It's a shame too, because like I said before, there were a few surprisingly genuine moments. Just not enough to keep the boat afloat.