When the first Planes came into being I certainly wasn't expecting much, and I certainly didn't get much. It seemed like a hastily put together movie capitalising on the merchandise churning franchise that Pixar founded. Well, a year later, Planes 2 is here, and while I knew I'd end up going to see it, I certainly wasn't looking forward to it.
Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is doing well at the racing game. Winning cups all over the place, thing eventually take a turn for the worse when he messes up his gearbox while pushing his engine. Finding a replacement looks bleak, so Dusty may have to resign himself to the fact that he can no longer race. However, a turn of fate gives Dusty the inspiration to become certified as a fire fighter rescue plane, so he sets off to Piston Peak national park to train with a tight knit team of rescue vehicles.
As with the last instalment, there is actually quite a nice cast scattered throughout this movie. There are some nice turns by Ed Harris, Teri Hatcher and Julie Bowen, but unfortunately they can't showcase their real talents. Much like the first Planes, the supporting characters are almost cardboard cut outs. They're certainly not the stereotypical foreign planes we've seen before, and there is a bit more character lent to the Dusty's supporting team. But it's not quite enough. Any potential for story lines with a lot of the characters falls short, leaving many of them one dimensional and really quite forgettable. As for the story they're contained in, it's nothing inspired. It's the underdog story we saw in the first movie, just shifted into a different situation.
Still, there are still some nice scenes thrown in, particularly those with the team fighting the forest fires that spring up around the park. The visuals in particular are very nice, with the fire effects especially looking very realistic, and in these action scenes the movie is almost on par with something churned out by Pixar or the main Disney animation studio. But with nothing else really going for this movie, it's still nothing special. It's certainly a much better effort than the first, and I'm hoping it's a move in the right direction, but it's still just an okay movie.
My rating: 3/5