Planes: Fire & Rescue ups the ante on the original Planes (2013) right out of the gate with a heartfelt dedication to the real-life firefighters who take on raging wildfires. The first movie kinda, sorta merely aped Cars, while the new one scores points by doing something a little different (if not exactly unique). Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), the racing plane from the previous outing, is back. But this time his gearbox has been pushed too far. It’s time for a career change, as the speeds required for racing will surely burn him out for good.
He joins a fire-and-rescue crew led by Blade (voiced by Ed Harris). They’re tasked with protecting the majestic Piston Peak National Park from encroaching wildfires. Dusty’s training is arduous and initially his taskmaster boss isn’t overly impressed. But Dusty is one determined plane. Without an abundance of surprises in the plot, adults may find this one more of a time waster than anything worthwhile. But kids are going to eat it up, especially since its low-key charms are better suited for home video than the big screen. Planes: Fire & Rescue is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD.
Sterling picture quality makes Fire & Rescue as easy on the eyes as possible. While the animation itself is nowhere near as eye-popping as say, Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2, the 1080p transfer is as sharp and detailed as one could possibly expect. Disney has gone the extra mile, audio-wise, with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix that shows off the firefighting scenes and Brad Paisley soundtrack tunes. All in all, not too shabby for a sequel to what was originally intended as a DTV quickie.
Slim supplements offer little substance, but again the kids will love the three bonus animated shorts, “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular” (a Blu-ray exclusive), “Dipper,” and “Smoke Jumpers.” There’s a brief featurette, “Air Attack,” about the real-life inspirations behind the animated creations seen in the film. There’s also deleted scenes (with director introductions) and a music video. The Blu-ray comes with a standard DVD and Digital HD download.