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Look who's torquing; All pistons go for scorching sequel.

Byline: SMEEIR MOVIES MARK ADAMS with 03.08.2014

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE U, 84mins. Opens Friday THE STARS Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen, Regina King, Stacy Keach, Wes Studi (voices) THE STORY Star plane Dusty Crophopper (Cook) suffers gearbox failure, which puts the brakes on his air racing. After a fire threatens to close his hometown airport, he volunteers to help and heads to Piston Peak National Park for re-training. But his torque problems also threaten his firefighting skills.

THE VERDICT This colourful and engaging sequel to Planes (itself a spin-off from the mega-hit Cars franchise) offers up frothily entertaining firefighting animated fun that should hit the summer holiday sweetspot.

While not really up to the beauty of Cars, it is reassuringly familiar for kids, has subtle gags for adults and features some exciting, action-packed firefighting sequences.

Fans of the first film will recall how humble crop-dusting plane Dusty Crophopper made big in the world of competitive racing. As the sequel starts, he looks set for greater glory until he realises his dodgy gearbox means he can no longer hit top speeds.

After he causes a fire at his local airport, safety officials threaten to shut down the site, pending upgrades to outdated firetruck Mayday (Hal Holbrook) and the addition of a second emergency responder. Dusty volunteers for the role, which means intensive training at Piston Peak National Park under the tough instruction of gruff helicopter Blade Ranger (Harris).

He tries to hide his lack of torque issues (a gearbox thing, apparently), but when a forest fire threatens a glitzy hotel, it is down to Dusty to show his true spirit and his newly acquired firefighting skills.

There remains something odd about this animated world where planes, cars and trucks take on human characteristics and birds appear to be small toy planes.

3 But while the film is no Disney classic, there are Engaging animated family fun moments when the vibrant animation really does soar.


Flight club: Dusty Crophopper trains to be a firefighter

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2014
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