Planes: Fire & Rescue Voices of Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen. Directed by Bobs Gannaway. Rated PG. Opens Friday.
Disney’s Pixar often spends years producing its detailed, sophisticated computer-animated movies, but the company’s DisneyToon division has managed to churn out two movies in the Cars spinoff series Planes in less than a year. The second movie, subtitled Fire & Rescue, finds former cropduster Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) transitioning from a high-speed racer into a firefighter, for dubious reasons that seem mostly based on finding a new plot and setting. Like the first Planes, Fire & Rescue is dull, predictable and flat, with decent animation but lifeless characters and a perfunctory narrative. Dusty’s firefighting adventures are as uninvolving as his around-the-world race, and the best that can be said for Fire & Rescue is that it features fewer egregious ethnic stereotypes than its predecessor. Of course, with the way Disney has merchandized the hell out of this series, we should expect a third movie around this time next year.