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Follow up doesn't quite take off; FILM REVIEW.

Byline: DAMON SMITH

PLANES 2: FIRE & RESCUE 3D (U) Featuring the voices of: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, Wes Studi, Dale Dye, Regina King, Corri English, Bryan Callen, Danny Pardo, Matt Jones, Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher, Hal Holbrook. Director: Roberts Gannaway. Duration: 84 mins.

PLANES 2: FIRE & RESCUE 3D (U) Featuring the voices of: Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Curtis Armstrong, Wes Studi, Dale Dye, Regina King, Corri English, Bryan Callen, Danny Pardo, Matt Jones, Stacy Keach, Teri Hatcher, Hal Holbrook. Director: Roberts Gannaway. Duration: 84 mins.

IF THE first Planes film, a spin-off from Pixar's Cars, appeared to be propelled by merchandising opportunities rather than creative necessity, this action-packed sequel attempts to stand on its own landing gear with a stirring tale of heroism and self-sacrifice.

F THE first Planes film, a spin-off from Pixar's Cars, appeared to be propelled by merchandising opportunities rather than creative necessity, this action-packed sequel attempts to stand on its own landing gear with a stirring tale of heroism and self-sacrifice.

As the title suggests, Planes 2: Fire & Rescue immerses us in the daredevil world of fire-fighting, honouring the men and women - and aircraft - who "fly in when others are flying out".

As the title suggests, Planes 2: Fire & Rescue immerses us in the daredevil world of fire-fighting, honouring the men and women - and aircraft - who "fly in when others are flying out".

It's a touching sentiment and screenwriter Jeffrey M Howard engineers some moving exchanges between the characters, some of whom are a splutter away from the scrap heap.

It's a touching sentiment and screenwriter Jeffrey M Howard engineers some moving exchanges between the characters, some of whom are a splutter away from the scrap heap.

Director Bobs Gannaway employs the 3D format to striking effect in aerial sequences and the animation of raging infernos is impressively realistic.

Director Bobs Gannaway employs the 3D format to striking effect in aerial sequences and the animation of raging infernos is impressively realistic.

However, there's an inescapable However, there's an inescapable feeling that this gung-ho adventure should have taken a flight path directly to the home formats rather feeling that this gung-ho adventure should have taken a flight path directly to the home formats rather than the big screen.

than the big screen.

Soaring over Propwash Junction with his mentor Skipper (voiced by Stacy Keach), Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) suffers a malfunction.

Stacy Keach), Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) suffers a malfunction.

Back at the hanger, trusted mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher) diagnoses a failing gearbox.

Back at the hanger, trusted mechanic Dottie (Teri Hatcher) diagnoses a failing gearbox.

"From now on, you have to keep down your torque to less than 80 per cent," she instructs Dusty, putting an end to his illustrious racing career.

"From now on, you have to keep down your torque to less than 80 per cent," she instructs Dusty, putting an end to his illustrious racing career.

Dusty angrily defies Dottie and careens into the town's airport, causing a small fire.

Dusty angrily defies Dottie and careens into the town's airport, causing a small fire.

The incident casts doubt on the ability of veteran fire and rescue truck Mayday (Hal Holbrook) to service the airport's needs.

The incident casts doubt on the ability of veteran fire and rescue truck Mayday (Hal Holbrook) to service the airport's needs.

So Dusty agrees to abandon his racing dreams in order to earn his certificate as the town's fire-fighting plane.

So Dusty agrees to abandon his racing dreams in order to earn his certificate as the town's fire-fighting plane.

The plucky crop duster heads to Piston Peak National Park to train under helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), who was once a TV star, and his team including scooper Lil' Dipper (Julie Bowen), helicopter Windlifter (Wes Studi) and ex-military transport plane Cabbie (Dale Dye).

The plucky crop duster heads to Piston Peak National Park to train under helicopter Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), who was once a TV star, and his team including scooper Lil' Dipper (Julie Bowen), helicopter Windlifter (Wes Studi) and ex-military transport plane Cabbie (Dale Dye).

As Dusty masters the art of airborne fire-fighting, he also learns valuable lessons about friendship and endurance.

As Dusty masters the art of airborne fire-fighting, he also learns valuable lessons about friendship and endurance.

As Blade reminds him, "If you give up today, think of all the lives you can't save tomorrow."

As Blade reminds him, "If you give up today, think of all the lives you can't save tomorrow."

Planes 2: Fire & Rescue is geared towards younger viewers, hammering home the importance of team work and the valuable contribution of emergency PLANES 2: FIRE & Rescue is geared towards younger viewers, hammering home the importance of team work and the valuable contribution of emergency services.

services. There are a handful of verbal and visual gags to engage older audiences: a front cover of industry magazine Cariety; a bar patron drunkenly confiding, "She left me for a hybrid. I didn't hear it coming!" A spoof of the long-running There are a handful of verbal and visual gags to engage older audiences: a front cover of industry magazine Cariety; a bar patron drunkenly confiding, "She left me for a hybrid. I didn't hear it coming!" A spoof of the long-running motorcycle police series CHiPs includes a cameo for Erik Estrada as Blade Ranger's partner on air patrol.

motorcycle police series CHiPs includes a cameo for Erik Estrada as Blade Ranger's partner on air patrol.

On the whole, though, Gannaway's sequel lacks the sophistication and emotional richness of yesteryear's Frozen or recent Pixar fare.

On the whole, though, Gannaway's sequel lacks the sophistication and emotional richness of yesteryear's Frozen or recent Pixar fare.

Animation is crisp and colourful and the vocal performances are similarly warm so audiences feel a toasty glow before the first plumes of smoke from the computergenerated blazes.

Animation is crisp and colourful and the vocal performances are similarly warm so audiences feel a toasty glow before the first plumes of smoke from the computergenerated blazes.

Rating: ? ...

Rating: ? ...

THE INBETWEENERS 2 (15) Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas. Directors: Damon Beesley and Iain Morris.

THE INBETWEENERS 2 (15) Starring: Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, Joe Thomas. Directors: Damon Beesley and Iain Morris.

Duration: 96 mins.

Duration: 96 mins.

IT'S A classic will they, won't they premise. Except instead of viewers wondering if the hero and heroine will share a romantic kiss, here four testosterone-fuelled geeks simply want the full monty. Now.

IT'S A classic will they, won't they premise. Except instead of viewers wondering if the hero and heroine will share a romantic kiss, here four testosterone-fuelled geeks simply want the full monty. Now.

Welcome back to the likeable Will (Simon Bird, 29), Jay (James Buckley, 26), Neil (Blake Harrison, 29) and Simon (Joe Thomas, 30).

Welcome back to the likeable Will (Simon Bird, 29), Jay (James Buckley, 26), Neil (Blake Harrison, 29) and Simon (Joe Thomas, 30).

They enjoyed the third biggest hit of 2011 by pretending to be 18-year-olds They enjoyed the third biggest hit of 2011 by pretending to be 18-year-olds aiming above their station on a first holiday abroad. Now Jay claims to be a successful DJ in Australia and his friends fly over to join in the fun.

aiming above their station on a first holiday abroad. Now Jay claims to be a successful DJ in Australia and his friends fly over to join in the fun.

Ben Palmer's original worked because of its degree of restraint over intention. The sequel comes unstuck by aiming for the lowest common denominator every time. Yes, it can be funny, but the endless phrases for sex and in-your-face sight gags dilute the characters and turn the mood wearingly lewd. The Inbetweeners 2 takes a funny premise - and then ruins it with a crude attitude that is neither justified nor necessary.

Ben Palmer's original worked because of its degree of restraint over intention. The sequel comes unstuck by aiming for the lowest common denominator every time. Yes, it can be funny, but the endless phrases for sex and in-your-face sight gags dilute the characters and turn the mood wearingly lewd. The Inbetweeners 2 takes a funny premise - and then ruins it with a crude attitude that is neither justified nor necessary.

by Graham Young Rating: ? ..

by Graham Young Rating: ? ..

A PROMISE (12A) Starring: Alan Rickman, Rebecca Hall, Richard Madden. Director: Patrice Leconte. Duration: 95 mins.

A PROMISE (12A) Starring: Alan Rickman, Rebecca Hall, Richard Madden. Director: Patrice Leconte. Duration: 95 mins.

DESPITE attempts to be the next Atonement, this achingly dull period piece doesn't once come close to Joe Wright's masterpiece.

DESPITE attempts to be the next Atonement, this achingly dull period piece doesn't once come close to Joe Wright's masterpiece.

It's very much a case of an ace cast - including Rebecca Hall and Alan Rickman - wasting their time in a dreary and haphazardly-plotted snooze-athon. Instead of taking popcorn and nachos into the cinema, I promise you'd be better off with a camp bed.

It's very much a case of an ace cast - including Rebecca Hall and Alan Rickman - wasting their time in a dreary and haphazardly-plotted snooze-athon. Instead of taking popcorn and nachos into the cinema, I promise you'd be better off with a camp bed.

In pre-First World War Germany, In pre-First World War Germany, the young-and-gifted Friedrich (Richard Madden of TV's Game Of Thrones) starts making eyes at the younger wife (Hall) of his boss (Rickman).

the young-and-gifted Friedrich (Richard Madden of TV's Game Of Thrones) starts making eyes at the younger wife (Hall) of his boss (Rickman).

There follows an anaemic love triangle before the elderly industrialist, jealously sensing the frisson, sends his protege abroad.

There follows an anaemic love triangle before the elderly industrialist, jealously sensing the frisson, sends his protege abroad.

Too much time is spent on the set-up, while Friedrich's exile is dealt with in under 10 minutes, which makes it hard to buy into the aching sadness of the lovers' separation.

Too much time is spent on the set-up, while Friedrich's exile is dealt with in under 10 minutes, which makes it hard to buy into the aching sadness of the lovers' separation.

And despite running for just shy of 100 minutes, the whole enterprise feels way longer.

And despite running for just shy of 100 minutes, the whole enterprise feels way longer.

Rating: ?

Rating: ?

CAPTION(S):

Alan Rickman as Karl Hoffmeister in the "snooze-athon" A Promise Alan Rickman as Karl Hoffmeister in the "snooze-athon" A Promise

From left: Jay (James Buckley), Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil (Blake Harrison)

From left, Blackout, Dynamite, Windlifter, and Dipper in Planes 2: Fire & Rescue, and above, Dipper and Windlifter with Blade Ranger and Dusty
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 8, 2014
Words:1802
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