Today my wife and I took our son (age 3 years, 8 months) to his 2nd movie in a theatre: Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue.
As expected, he loved it. Though, strangely, when I asked him what his favorite part was, he answered that it was when Dusty Crophopper crashes.
I personally definitely enjoyed this sequel more than the original.
Whereas the first Planes movie seemed more like the “plane version” of Cars, Planes: Fire & Rescue actually serves more as a spin-off of the first Planes movie.
I appreciate that Planes: Fire & Rescue picks up with the protagonist Dusty Crophopper moving on in his career. He leaves behind his career as a racer and decides to pursue obtaining his certfication to become a fire and rescue plane; in the majestic setting of the very fire-prone woodlands of northern California.
(As I learned from sitting through the movie’s ending credits, actual fire and rescue officials from Sacramento were consulted for the making of this movie.)
I felt the characters and the plot line in this sequel/spin-off were much interesting and original. It sort of reminds me of the difference between the two Captain America movies.
While the concept of death is not typically addressed in the Disney Cars/Planes universe, it definitely is in this movie.
They don’t shy away from that theme; as heroes of the fire and rescue team, they must be willing to sacrifice their lives for others. Death is not simply alluded to in Planes: Fire & Rescue, it’s very much a present concept throughout.
I believe that part of the reason it is rated PG instead of G is because of the undeniable theme of life and death; even though there are no shown “deaths” throughout the movie; they are only referenced.
Language and sexual content are not an issue. There are of course “vehicle-related” substitutes like “Chevy” being used as a curse word, for example.
Also, one scene features an “oil and gas bar” named Honkers, in which the sign contains the headlights of a car lit up, as to parody Hooters; though there are no “topless” waitresses, as suggested in the original Cars movie in which race fans “flashed” the race cars by turning on their headlights.
But obviously, only adults would even recognize those brief references. I can’t see any of those examples actually being perceived as offensive.
So in other words, Disney was clever enough to splice in a few subtle references to make sure that Planes: Fire & Rescue had just enough “oomph” to earn a PG rating.
By now, it should be common knowledge that PG rated kids’ movies make a lot more money than G-rated kids’ movies; likewise, PG-13 rated non-kids’ movies make a lot more money than PG rated non-kids’ movies.
(That explains why nearly every PG-13 rated movie contains its one token “f-word.” It ensures that more profitable PG-13 rating.)
In summary, our family loved seeing Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue on opening weekend. We had a great time! I seriously doubt your family will be disappointed either.
As you can see from the photo collage above, my son and I spent this morning building planes out of Legos in preparation for seeing the movie today. And of course, he had to take his two Planes toys with him to the theatre.
Thanks for reading my family friendly movie review of Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue. About a month from now, I plan to review the new (PG-13 rated) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Will it be suitable for my son? Let’s find out… next month.