Planes: Fire & Rescue (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 3, 2014 by  


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is an entertaining Disney animated film.  It’s family friendly, its visually appealing but its storyline is more simplistic when compared to other Disney or Pixar CG films.   But for those who enjoyed the first film, you will enjoy the sequel and will no doubt enjoy its gorgeous presentation and immersive soundtrack on Blu-ray.

Images courtesy of © 2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Planes: Fire & Rescue


DURATION: 84 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Widescreen (2:39:1 aspect ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish


RATED: PG (For Action and Some Peril)

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Directed by Roberts Gannaway

Characters by Jeffrey M. Howard

Producer: Ferrell Barron

Executive Producer: John Lasseter

Music: Mark Mancina

Edited by Dan Molina

Casting by Jason Henkel

Production Design by Toby Wilson

Art Direction by Toby Wilson

Featuring the voices of:

Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper

Ed Harris as Blade Ranger

Julie Bowen as Lil’ Dipper

Curtis Armstrong as Maru

John Michael Higgins as Cad

Hal Holbrook as Mayday

Wes Studi as Windlifter

Brad Garrett as Chug

Teri Hatcher as Dottie

Stacy Keach as Skipper

Cedric the Entertainer as Leadbottom

Danny Mann as Sparky

Barry Corbin as Ol’ Jammer

Regina King as Dynamite

Anne Meara as Winie

Jerry Stiller as Harvey

Fred Willard as Secretary of the Interior

Dale Dye as Cabbie

Matt Jones as Drip

Bryan Callen as Avalanche

Danny Pardo as Blackout

Corri English as Pinecone

Kari Wahlgren as Patch

Patrick Warburton as Pulaski

Rene Auberjonois as Concierge

Kevin Michael Richardson as Ryker

Erik Estrada as Nick ‘Loop’n’ Lopez

Steve Schirripa as Steve

Brent Musburger as Brent Mustangburger

John Ratzenberger as Brodi

“PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

Back in 2013, Disney’s “Planes”, a 3D computer-animated comedy was promoted as a spin-off of Pixar’s popular “Cars” franchise.  Despite not being a Pixar animated film, the first film in the planned trilogy would go on to earn over $219 million in the box office worldwide.

The story about a crop duster plane named Dusty Crophopper who dreamed of becoming a racer (and often practicing aerobatic maneuvers near the cornfields) but always mocked for being a crop duster and not a plane designed to race.  And eventually, Dusty would go on to make his dream come true by taking part in the Wings Across the Globe race in hopes that he can prove his naysayers wrong and succeed.

While most animated sequels typically take a few years to be released, the second film in the “Planes” trilogy titled “Planes: Fire & Rescue” was created six months after the start of the first film and the sequel was released in theaters on  July 2014.  And while the first film was a race film, director Robert Gannaway wanted to create an action-disaster film and required the staff to research air-attack teams and smoke jumpers but also working with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in order to make the film seem authentic.

The sequel earned $141.7 million worldwide and would feature the return of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Danny Mann and Cedric the Entertainer reprising their roles.  But also, featuring new characters and bringing in more talent such as Hal Holbrook, Julie Bowen, Ed Harris, Wes Studi, Dale Dye and many more to provide the voices.

And now “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is set for release on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 2014.

“Planes: Fire & Rescue” begins with Dusty Crophopper enjoying the success and the fame of being the winner of the “Wings Around the Globe” race.  But one day, while flying, his engine’s gearbox starts to malfunction due to being repeatedly forced to go beyond its limits.  And to make things worse, the gearbox that Dusty uses, is no longer available and is out of production.

Knowing that he probably will never race ever again, Dusty returns to his job as a crop duster but wanting to see if he could try once again and push his limit and that the gearbox mishap was just a fluke, he realizes quickly that the gearbox is no longer working correctly and he is forced to land at the Propwash Junction airport and ends up creating a fire.

While the fire is put out, the accident brings out a government inspector named Ryker and because there is inadequate firefighting personnel, he has no choice but to close the airport.

Feeling bad for his carelessness and knowing that the closure of the airport is his fault, Dusty decides to make things right by training to become a certified firefighter in order to meet the necessary regulations of having the airport reopened.

So, Dusty travels to Piston Peak National Park to train and work with the fire and rescue crew led by a helicopter named Blade Ranger.  But despite Dusty’s enthusiasm to be part of the search and rescue, Blade is unimpressed by him.

And for Dusty, he knows he needs to prove to others that he can meet the challenge and be utilized as a plane that can put out fires.


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).  Upon watching this film, I was quite pleased with the overall animation as the planes show amazing detail and shine.  environments are well-detailed and look gorgeous in HD and as one can expect from this CG animated film, the colors are vibrant and the detail on closeups showing dust and wear or reflective surfaces is fantastic.  I didn’t notice any major banding issues, especially in scenes where reds and oranges were featured.

But for the most part, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” looks fantastic on Blu-ray!


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  As one can expect for a more action-driven animated film, there is good use of the surround channels, may it be the planes in flight, hearing their engines in flight, hearing flames or rotors spinning, are definitely one of the highlights for this immersive soundtrack.  There is good use of the LFE and surround and rear surround channels are well-utilized.  Fans of Disney animated films will no doubt be happy that the soundtrack for “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is immersive!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” comes with the following special features:

  • Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular – (5:55) Dusty and Chug are cajoled into being part of a stunt show.
  • Welcome to Piston Peak! – (2:48) A short film promoting tourism for Piston Peak!
  • “CHoPs” TV Promo – (:41) A very short video of “CHoPs”.
  • Air Attack: Firefighters from the Sky – (4:46) A featurette about the research the crew had to go and learn about the search and rescue helicopter and planes in Hemet, CA.  And how the environment and equipment used at an air attack base, played a big part in influencing the film
  • Deleted Scenes – (4:26) Featuring three deleted scenes with optional filmmaker intros.
  • “Still I Fly” Music Video by Spencer Lee – (1:31)
  • Animated Shorts – (3:30) Featuring two animated shorts “Dipper” and “Smoke Jumpers”.


“Planes: Fire & Rescue” comes with both the Blu-ray, DVD plus a Digital HD code in order to watch your film in HD and also watch on iTunes. Plus a slipcover is included.

For parents of children or those who are young at heart, who remembers when they were excited about seeing a fire engine or a police car, those images of these men and women saving lives, protecting the world, does leave an everlasting image that stays with us forever.

For “Planes: Fire & Rescue”, the Disney animated film does a good job in teaching viewers about the Air & Attack crew who put out fires or rescue those in need in the most difficult areas.  Educating children (and possibly adults) but using these entertaining characters that will no doubt entertain children.

In many ways, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” should be a film that would win you over with its gorgeous animation, its fascinating characters that carry over from the first film, but also for the amount of action and humor to entertain children.

And I emphasize children because this film seems to be too simplistic and banal.   You can easily describe the entire film with a few sentences because it’s a simple story that is made better by it’s CG animation.  Unlike “Cars” which tries to grab you with its storyline about loss, love and starting over… “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is about starting over, new career direction and that is it.  Minimal use of the supporting cast, the animated film relies on the rescue training and the rescue operations.

But with that being said, it’s not a bad thing at all.  Children will enjoy the film and find it action-packed but also fun.  As an adult, I enjoyed seeing the various vehicles employed and what vehicles were turned into characters.  There was no doubt that the Disney staff put a lot into researching the air & attack crews and learning from the overall environment in order to create a setting that seems realistic.

But as Pixar is able to created animated films that win you over thanks to its characters, its storyline, its animation and the sheer emotion that the characters go through, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” plays out more like an CG animated pop corn action film.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” excels when it comes to overall picture quality in HD but also its immersive 7.1 lossless soundtrack.  The immersive surroundings and the sound being emitted by the engines or rotors makes the film much more entertaining.  And you also get a good number of short special features included as well!

Overall, “Planes: Fire & Rescue” is an entertaining Disney animated film.  It’s family friendly, its visually appealing but its storyline is more simplistic when compared to other Disney or Pixar CG films.   But for those who enjoyed the first film, you will enjoy the sequel and will no doubt enjoy its gorgeous presentation and immersive soundtrack on Blu-ray.

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