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Planes 2: Fire & Rescue (3D)

4/10

Stars: Voices: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Wes Studi, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Cedric the Entertainer, Danny Mann, Barry Corbin, Regina King, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard

Director: Bobs Gannaway

As sequels go, this Disney effort following the further animated adventures of world-famous crop duster-turned champion air racer Dusty doesnít really go anywhere much except to boldly go where its 2013 predecessor went.

On the credit side the 3D animation is very creditable.

The story less so.

Our Hero Dusty discovers his engine is damaged and he may never race again. And so he trains as an aerial firefighter on being informed by veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade ďIt takes a special kind of plane to become a firefighterĒ. And, unsurprisingly, Dusty becomes a hero.

As kidflicks go, this isnít likely to appeal to other than tolerant youngsters. There are reasonable gags on offer and the story moves along well enough, but itís hard to relate to the airborne heroes.

This is probably due to the fact that the audience appeal of animated heroes and heroines has always relied heavily on anthropomorphism with the result that classic cartoon characters like Bugs, Pinocchio, Tweety Pie, Tom and Jerry, Porky Pig etc are easily accepted as Ďrealí despite feathers, tails and trotters.

Aircraft, however, donít adapt easily to anthropomorphic acceptance. Despite eyes, mouths and (well-enough cast) voices, they always remain aircraft and so never manage to creep into the Donald and Mickey league.

While it was never actually painful to watch, Planes 2 never took off for me either.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour.
83 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Aug 2014