Planes: Fire and Rescue (Blu-ray)

November 5, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

There was a time in the not so distant past, in which Pixar movies were the jewel in the animation crown. Though it sounds a bit odd to say, films like Toy Story (and its sequels), Up and Finding Nemo have become literal modern day classics. That seemed to end, seemingly abruptly, after the release of 2010’s Toy Story 3 which, as of this writing, seems like the last good movie that Disney/Pixar or Pixar/Disney put out. After that, it’s been a slew of formulaic sequels and spin offs with the notable exception of Brave.  No doubt about it, these films sell and make money. Look in your local toy store and you’re bound to find a smiling plane with the name “Dusty” on the wing, but the magic just isn’t there. Having said all of that, they do still churn out movies and, admittedly, some are fun to watch and they are very clever. The appeal, as I’ve said multiple times, with these films is that they’re fun to watch by both kids and adults. Then again my step sons are 21 and 19 (as of this writing) and we don’t and won’t exactly bond over Planes: Fire and Rescue. You know what –  I’m going to stop babbling – on with the review!

The story is rather simple enough in that it tells the tale of the aircraft that’s dedicated to protecting Piston Peak National Park from, you guessed it, wildfires.  We remember Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) from the first installment and he’s learned that his engine has become damages and that he may never race again.  So he’s forced to change his career (flight?) path and join the world of aerial firefighting. Joining forces with helicopter Blade Ranger (voiced by Ed Harris) as well as his team that consists of Dipper (voiced by Julie Bowen), Windlifter (voiced by Wes Studi), Cabbie (voiced by Dale Dye) and a group known as the Smokejumpers. As fate would have it, a massive wildfire breaks out and the group uses every asset they have to contain it. Can Dusty and company contain the fire or will it destroy Piston Peak National Park?

Video: How’s it look?

Despite the somewhat formulaic and predictable plot, I have to say that each and every one of these Disney/Pixar movies (as well as those from other studios) do look amazing in HD. The 2.39:1 AVC HD image simply sparkles and dazzles from beginning to end. Colors are bold, vibrant and bright and they seem to leap, er…fly off the screen.  Detail is second to none and even though this feels a bit more low budget than its predecessor, it still delivers. When everything takes place in the digital realm, it’s noticeable and no matter your thoughts on the film itself, Planes: Fire and Rescue looks downright amazing on Blu-ray.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Complimenting the amazing picture is a similarly impressive DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. As we might imagine, airplanes (cartoonish though they might be) sound pretty intense on screen, from the hum of the engines, to the purr of the propellers. The direction effects are used to full extend and engage most every speaker that’s attached to your system.  LFE are involved in several scenes as well, particularly the fire sequences. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – just because a film is animated doesn’t mean it can’t sound amazing. A first rate job here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

DVD Extras

  • Additional Animated Shorts – Two more animated shorts are included: “Dipper” and “Smoke Jumpers” and like most of these animated shorts found on Disney/Pixar titles, they’re interesting but feature supporting players from the film and have passable interest at best.
  • Air Attack: Firefighters from the Sky – We get a look at some of the real vehicles and aircraft that served as the inspiration for the characters in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – Three total, with an introduction by the Director and Producer of the film.
  • Welcome to Piston Peak! – Courtesy of the Piston Peak Board of Tourism (kidding, of course) this is a brief segment on the fictional park.
  • CHoPs TV Promo – In case you’re too young to remember, this is a spoof off of the old television show CHiPs (California Highway Patrol) starring the amazing Erik Estrada.
  • Music Video – Spencer Lee’s “Still I Fly.”

Blu-ray Exclusive

  • Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular – Exclusive to the Blu-ray, this features the characters of Dusty and Chug as they perform a dangerous stunt routine at a show.

Disc Scores