Story

Planes: Fire and Rescue opens with Dusty Crophopper (voice of Dane Cook) winning races all over the world and showing off his flawless flying skills. Dusty returns to his home town of Propwash Junction, where the entire population is getting ready for the annual Corn Fest.

Disaster strikes when Dusty’s gearbox malfunctions and can’t be repaired, resulting in the end of his racing career. Dusty’s failing gearbox causes him to crash into the airport’s hangar, which explodes into flames. And when the airport’s aging fire truck, Mayday (voice of Hal Holbrook), fails to extinguish the fire, the hangar burns to the ground. The airport is closed until Mayday can be upgraded and the airport can find a second firefighter, jeopardising the town’s Corn Fest.

To solve the problem, Dusty volunteers to become a firefighter. He leaves for Piston Peak National Park, where an old friend of Mayday’s, a helicopter named Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris), is the chief of the park’s Air Attack firefighting team.

Dusty is soon learning how to fight fires, but a massive fire heads towards the park’s new tourist lodge. When the fire threatens the lives of hundreds of guests, Dusty and the firefighting team of Piston Peak must work together and come to the rescue.

Themes

Firefighting and rescue; ageing and death; friendship; self-sacrifice and courage

Violence

There is no deliberate character-to-character violence of concern in Planes: Fire and Rescue. But there are many intense scenes of crashes and fires, and scenes that show main characters in peril and being injured.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
There are many scenes in Planes: Fire and Rescue that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Early in the movie while climbing high into the sky, Dusty experiences engine failure. The slow-motion scene shows small pieces of metal breaking apart inside his engine and black smoke pouring out. Dusty spins out of control and plummets towards the ground. He makes an emergency landing without damage, but later we hear that he has a permanently damaged gearbox and he will never be able to race again.
  • After suffering engine failure, Dusty clips power lines at an airport and crashes into an observation tower. The tower collapses onto a hangar, which bursts into flames.
  • Several scenes show realistic forest fires. Burning trees nearly fall on animals racing to escape the fire. The fire traps tourists escaping from a resort by road and train.
  • Dusty and Blade the helicopter take refuge in an abandoned mine shaft as the fire rages around them. Paint and metal on the side of the helicopter blister and burn from the heat of the fire. After the fire passes, Dusty and Blade come out of the mine shaft. Blade tries to fly but crashes. A short time later rescue planes carry the injured helicopter with cables, and we hear that his condition is serious.
  • Two rescue vehicles are trapped on a burning suspension bridge. As the bridge burns and breaks apart, the vehicles almost slide off the bridge. Dusty nearly crashes several times as he attempts to scoop up water to douse the flames. Just as the two vehicles are about to slip over the side of the bridge, they are pulled to safety. The burning bridge collapses behind them and they narrowly escape.
  • After helping to rescue two vehicles from a burning bridge, Dusty crashes into a forest. The unconscious and battered plane is winched to safety by rescue helicopters.

From 5-8
Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by some of the scenes described above.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Planes: Fire and Rescue has low-level sexual innuendo. For example:

  • A pickup truck calls a female plane ‘Sugar Ribs’ and refers to her as a ‘bomb’.
  • A plane says that a car ‘waxes himself daily’.
  • A female plane flirts with a male plane through the movie. While at a resort lodge the female plane puts her wing around the male plane and says, ‘Our first date’. Later she tells him that she likes to watch him sleeping.
  • A plane describes another plane as being ‘a nice catch’ and asks if she has a sister.
  • An older married couple of vehicles says, ‘We wore our treads off on our honeymoon … driving’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Planes: Fire and Rescue shows some use of substances. For example, one scene shows a restaurant-like setting with bottles of oil sitting on dinner tables.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in Planes: Fire and Rescue itself, but there are plenty of suggestions of real brands. There is also plenty of merchandise associated with the movie being marketed to children.

Coarse language

Planes: Fire and Rescue has some name-calling and occasional toilet humour. For example:

  • Vehicles say things like ‘I’ve got gas’.
  • An old fire truck talks about his rear bumper having been rusty until he used an anti-rust oil. He lifts his rear end and shows it to onlookers, who gasp in shock.
  • A plane backfires black smoke, causing a nearby forklift truck to pass out and fall over.
  • An old fire truck tries to demonstrate his new siren but makes a loud farting sound instead.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Planes: Fire and Rescue is a sequel to Planes. It is a Disney animated adventure comedy, targeting primary school-age children and younger teenagers, but with some innuendo aimed at adults. The story is entertaining and the characters engaging, so the movie will easily entertain its target audience. It also contains some positive messages.

The action is at times too intense for children under six years, who might find some scenes very scary. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-8 years.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Caution is sometimes important. Overconfidence can be reckless and dangerous.
  • Life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to. We can’t give up but need to be prepared to adapt.

 

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Selflessness: throughout the movie, firefighting vehicles risk their safety and lives to protect and rescue people they have never met.
  • Obedience: the movie shows that not following orders can put you and others in danger. 
  • Teamwork: to conduct rescues safely, firefighters must work together as a team and rely on each other.

 

You could also talk with your children about the qualities that real-life rescue workers display when they put themselves at risk for people they have never met, and why they do this.