Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014)

(On Cable TV, March 2015) As useless as Planes: Fire & Rescue can be (it’s an unneeded sequel to an unneeded spinoff of the much-lambasted Cars), there’s still a bit to like about this film.  The basics of the plot are far-fetched and simplistic at once, but they do manage the trick of making this sequel a refreshingly different film from the race-minded Planes.  This allows for new characters, a different focus, exciting visuals and some built-in tension as the protagonist and his team fight forest fires.  It’s obviously made for kids, but there are a few moment in the film and its depiction of the joys of flying that should appeal to air-minded adults.  There are enough details, jokes and visual elements to make the film interesting on a moment-to-moment basis, even though most of the characters don’t fly much above basic traits and temperament.  Direction-wise, it’s flatter than the Pixar/Disney state-of-the-art, although some of the sequences do have a bit of a visual oomph to them.  Otherwise, there really isn’t much more to say here: Destined to be forever seen in tandem with its predecessor, Planes: Fire & Rescue is good enough to be worth a watch, but not enough to stick in mind.

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