FILM REVIEW: Above-average diversion

"PLANES FIRE & RESCUE" (L-R) DUSTY, BLADE RANGER. �2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ANL-140813-101449001
"PLANES FIRE & RESCUE" (L-R) DUSTY, BLADE RANGER. �2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. ANL-140813-101449001
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REVIEW: PLANES 2 – FIRE & RESCUE (U)

SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

VOICE CAST: DANE COOK, ED HARRIS, JULIE BOWEN, TERI HATCHER, WES STUDI, STACY KEACH, HAL HOLBROOK, PATRICK WARBURTON, JERRY STILLER & JOHN RATZENBERGER

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 25 MINS

DIRECTOR: ROBERTS GANNAWAY

Despite Disney turning this into a blatant cash-cow by blazing out a super-quick sequel to build on last year’s $220 million worldwide hit – this is surprisingly decent fare.

The House of Mouse polished the original film from its direct-to-video roots into a theatrical release – via the DisneyToon animation sub-division – and even though the sequel doesn’t have the Pixar production values, it does improve in pretty much every way from the first movie.

An impressive voice cast – which adds the likes of Oscar-nominee Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Modern Family’s Julie Bowen and The Last of the Mohicans’ Wes Studi – adds greater depth this time round, with a more intriguing fire-fighting premise giving the movie wings when its predictable formulaic moments threaten to drag it down.

When now world-famous air racing champion Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) learns that he may never race again due to a damaged engine, he joins forces with helicopter Blade Ranger (Harris) and his team of all-terrain vehicles known as the Smokejumpers, to courageously battle a massive wildfire.

It won’t offer anything new to adult cinema-goers used to more enigmatic Disney/Pixar entries – despite a sprinkling of notable humorous moments – but is an above-average passable diversion for the young ‘uns, that flies more than it splutters.

It’s comfortably better than The Nut Job for starters, and arguably better than Cars 2 – the world in which this second transportation-based franchise was inspired from.

Whatever next? A film called Trains? Yep, that’s up next from Disney... no kidding.

Rating: 3/5