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Tuesday, November 04 2014 00:58

Review: Disney's PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE Blu-ray Combo Pack

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It used to be a rare feat to find a sequel that surpasses the original film. With a few notable and major exceptions (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, DESPICABLE ME 2, etc), generally the second go is not as fun, which makes it even more surprising that I enjoyed Disney's PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE more than last year's PLANES (review).

Having a theatrical follow-up just a year later is almost unheard of for an animated feature, but DisneyToon Studios was already rolling with dual PLANES films from the start, much like they do with their Tinker Bell/Disney Fairies films that head straight for home video - the same path that PLANES was originally set to take. But, with a shift to theatrical for the first one (and a Global $219M+ haul), FIRE & RESCUE found itself on the big screen as well, pulling better reviews but ultimately landing around $80M short of it's predecessor. Just-released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD in-time for the holiday season, PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE will hopefully find the audience it deserves as it flies home.

Picking up at a time not too far distant from the race-winning exploits of the first PLANES, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is still tearing up the circuit until a worn-out gearbox threatens to be the career-ending injury. Inspired by a flaming mishap at Propwash Junction, Dusty essentially makes plans to get a "day job" as a firefighter, but things are never as easy as one would hope, and the eager Crophopper is once again the new kid on a fairly jaded block filled with seasoned firefighting pros.

Rock Father ApprovedWhile the surface shows animation that feels even more vibrant and immersive than the first film, FIRE & RESCUE plays smoother and more balanced, while giving younger audiences an education on firefighting that's a little deeper than expected, right down to the bonus features which take viewers inside the development of the film and out to the real-life locales that inspired it. Factor in a couple of cool throwback pieces like HOWARD THE TRUCK (as in "Duck") on VHS and Ed Harris' Blade Ranger being the star of a CHiPS-like television series called CHoPS, and there's just a lot here to dig.

Rock Father-approved.

PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE is available via (my associate) Amazon:

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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