Sunday, 11 September 2016

Classic Children's Film Review: Planes 2: Fire and Rescue

Living in the cosmopolitan city of Palmerston North, one comes in contact with many people from different cultures and walks of life. I, for example, have managed to earn the respect of Bogan parents. This, of course, is due to my children's penchant for performing AC/DC's Thunderstruck in public at the drop of a hat.

How do a three year old and a 18 month old learn the lyrics to one of rock's most enduring anthems?If you guessed from a Disney movie, you'd be pretty much on the money. For this is the song that features during a climactic scene of Planes 2: Fire and Rescue, a film so epic, that when Luke was told he could get two films from the video store, he returned with two copies of it. So beloved, that he still requests a visit to JB Hifi to ensure 'that they have a copy so that other kids can buy it.' So frequently viewed, that it is imprinted to view upon my retinas whenever I close my eyes.

Even then I don't remember half the characters who have been made into must-have toys

I hadn't seen the original Planes at the time I first saw Planes 2: Fire and Rescue, so I was a little worried that I would have difficulty catching up with the back story. Of course, these concerns were baseless: Planes 2: Fire and Rescue has more or less exactly the same plot line as every childhood movie you have ever seen, just with characters changed to maximalise the earning potential from merchandise. What toys do kids love playing with? Planes and fire engines!!!

For some reason a sentient crop duster named Dusty has somehow just won a race around the world, but now his home airport is threatened with closure, because it  doesn't meet those pesky health and safety regulations. It's bloody PC gone mad!

Pictured: realistically, the only aircraft a crop duster could actually beat around the world

Of course, Dusty has a plan! He's gonna do what any crop dusting plane would do, and become a fire engine plane! So off he goes to Piston Peak National Park, to learn to fight fires to the soundtrack of early 90s metal, under the tutelage of grumpy helicopter and former television police drama star Blade Ranger. Spoiler alert! He may be gruff, but in the end he has a heart of gold!

Or an engine of steel, or something like that.
Needless to say, the training isn't quite as smooth sailing as Dusty had hoped. Obstacles are met. Adversity is fought. so is fire (it's right there in the title). But in the end, he gets his wings (although he actually had wings all the way through), and he gets the lady plane, and he gets the admiration and respect of Blade Ranger. And my wallet gets to open for the assorted die cast models, colouring in books, t shirts, sticker albums and AC/DC CDs that have been released to encourage maximal toddler nagging and parental spending.

Indeed, Planes 2: Fire and Rescue finds Disney once again on form, knowing exactly what children want, and how to leverage as much money from their parents as possible for it. I expect the next instalment to be entitled something along the lines of Planes 3: Chocolate Dinosaurs and Magical Talking Circus Dogs. If it has a soundtrack by Guns n Roses, Reel Big Fish or Public Enemy, though, I probably won't mind so much.

featuring the hit songs, Welcome to the Aerodrome,

Live and Let Fly, and November Plane

An enjoyable romp, but shit it's getting expensive.


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