Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child. Visit his website.
Director: Roberts Gannaway
Writer: Jeffrey M. Howard
Cast: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen
AGE RESTRICTION: [PG]
It’s a kids’ movie, so you can take the kids.
Dusty Crophopper busts a gasket (or something) and, as a result of a series of unlikely plot points, ends up having to train as a fire and rescue plane in order to save the airfield back home in Bumsville Idaho (or wherever it is he comes from).
If I’m not making this sound all that great it’s because it isn’t. I’ve never liked the Planes franchise. Riding the success of the not-very-good Cars films the Planes spin offs have always felt like slightly retarded third cousins to me. There isn’t a lot of story, not too much character, and nothing to recommend the films to anyone over the age of “ooh-look-dad-a-talking-plane/car/boat/forklift!” My daughter loves the films. She’s three though, and also likes to eat her own snot. So it’s possible we may have to take her opinion with a pinch of salt.
Ja, it’s fine. The script is very simple, lacking all of the sophistication of great animated films like, Monsters Inc, The Croods, and Dispicable Me. It really is aimed at the littlies and no higher, so the actors don’t have much to work with. Kind of like the guy in the Barney suit isn’t shooting for the stars and going all method and stuff.
Again it seems like once the sights were set pretty low, everyone got on board and fixed their attention on making a mediocre kids’ flik. This film is very one-dimensional, often doesn’t make sense, and isn’t too fussed about it. It’s good at doing what it seems to want to do. But if you’re looking for it to be anything more than that, it isn’t. There isn’t much to say about the directing. It starts, it’s more or less finds a storyline and follows it along until the end. And then it ends.
In a way it’s kind of a pity. Firefighter movies are cool, right? They have grand scope and deal with high concepts like bravery, heroism, really really hot things. At times it even seems like this film wants to go to those goose-bumpy places and follow in the footsteps of some of the great firefighting movies of yesteryear, but then it seems to get scared and veer off again into nothingness.
Take your toddlers, take your littlies, take the family. But don’t expect this to be anything other than what it is: a kids’ movie.