Australian Council on Children and the Media

Planes: Fire and Rescue

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Short takes

Not recommended under 6; parental guidance recommended 6-8 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Planes: Fire and Rescue
  • a review of Planes: Fire and Rescue completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 September 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to scary scenes.
Children aged 6 to 8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
Children 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Planes: Fire and Rescue
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length 84 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film opens with Dusty Crophopper (voice of Dane Cook) winning races all over the world and showing off his flawless flying skills. Dusty returns to his home town of Propwash Junction where the entire town’s population is getting ready for the annual Corn Fest.

Disaster strikes when Dusty’s gearbox malfunctions and is cannot be repaired, resulting in the end of his racing career. Unfortunately, Dusty’s failing gearbox causes him to crash into the airport’s hangar which explodes into flames. And when the airport’s aging fire-truck Mayday (voice of Hal Holbrook) fails to extinguish the fire, the hangar burns to the ground. The airport is closed until Mayday can be upgraded and the airport can find a second fire-fighter, jeopardising the town’s Corn Fest.

To solve the problem, Dusty volunteers to become a fire-fighter and departs for Piston Peak National Park where an old friend of Mayday’s, a helicopter named Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) is the chief of the Park’s Air Attack Fire Fighting team. Dusty is soon in the air learning how to fight fires but a massive fire heads towards the Park’s new tourist lodge. When the fire threatens the lives of hundreds of guests, it’s up to Dusty and the fire-fighting team of Piston Peak to work together and come to the rescue.     

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Fire-fighting and rescue; ageing and death; friendship; self-sacrifice and courage

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no deliberate character to character violence of concern. However, there are many intense scenes of crashes and fires, and main characters in peril and being injured. (see below under Material that may scare or disturb children)

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are many scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Early in the film, while climbing high into the sky, Dusty experiences engine failure - in slow-motion we see small pieces of metal breaking apart inside of the  engine and see black smoke pouring out before the plane spins out of control and plummets towards the ground. The plane manages make an emergency landing without damage, but later we hear that Dusty has a permanently damaged gear box and will never be able to race again. 
  • After suffering engine failure, Dusty clips power lines at an airport and crashes into an observation tower which collapses on to a hangar which bursts into flames.
  • Several scenes depict realistic looking forest fires. Burning trees nearly fall on animals racing to escape the fire and tourists escaping from a resort by road and train are trapped by the fire
  • Dusty and Blade take refuge in an abandoned mine shaft as the fire rages around them; we see the paint and metal plate on the side of the helicopter blister and burn from the heat of the fire. After the fire passes, the two emerge from the mine shaft and the helicopter tries to fly but crashes. A short time later we see rescue planes carrying the injured helicopter with cables and we hear that his condition is serious.
  • Two rescue vehicles are trapped on a burning suspension bridge. As the bridge burns and breaks apart they almost slide off of the bridge while Dusty nearly crashes several times as he attempts to scoop up water to douse the flames. Just as the two vehicles are about to slip over the side of the bridge they are pulled to safety. The burning bridge collapses behind them and they narrowly escape.
  • After helping to rescue two rescue vehicles from a burning bridge, Dusty crashes into a forest. The unconscious and battered plane is winched to safety by rescue helicopters.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by some of the scenes described above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern in the film, although plenty of suggestions of real brands. There is also plenty of associated merchandise being marketed to children.

Sexual references

The film contains low-level sexual innuendo. Examples include:

  • A pickup truck calls a female plane “Sugar Ribs” and refers to her as a “bomb”.
  • A plane says in reference to a car “He waxes himself daily”.
  • A female plane flirts with a male plane through the film. While at a resort lodge the female plane puts her wing around the male plane saying “Our first date”.  Later the she tells him that she likes to watch him sleeping.
  • A plane refers to another plane as being “A nice catch” and asks if she has a sister.
  • An older married couple of vehicles state “We wore their treads off on our honeymoon……driving”.

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

One scene depicting a restaurant-like setting with bottles of oil sitting on dinner tables instead of alcohol.

Coarse language

Some name calling such as:

  • Mud dumper; punk; jokers; bumper kisser

There is also occasional toilet humour. Examples include:

  • Vehicles say “I’ve got gas”.
  • An old fire truck makes reference to his  rear bumper having been rusty until he used an anti-rust oil as he lifts his rear end and shows it to onlookers who gasp in shock.
  • A plane backfires black smoke, causing a nearby forklift truck to pass-out and fall over.
  • An old fire truck attempts to demonstrate his new siren but make a loud farting sound instead.  

In a nutshell

Planes: Fire and rescue is a sequel to Planes. It is a Disney animated adventure comedy, targeting primary school aged children and younger teens, but with some innuendo aimed at adults.  The story is entertaining and the characters engaging, so the film will easily entertain its target audience.  It also contains some sound positive messages. However the action is at times too intense for children under 6 who may find some scenes very scary, and parental guidance is recommended for the 6-8 age group.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Being cautious is sometimes important - being over confident can be reckless and dangerous.
  • Life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to - we can’t give up but need to be prepared to adapt.  

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Selflessness: throughout the film fire-fighting vehicles risk their safety and lives to protect and rescue people they have never met.
  • The importance of knowing when to follow orders: the film depicts how not following orders can put both those that refuse to follow orders and others in danger.
  • Teamwork: in order to enact rescues safely, the fire-fighter have to work together as a close knit team with each one relying on the other to fulfil his part.    

Parents may also wish to discuss the qualities that real-life rescue workers display when they put themselves at risk for people they have never met, and why they would want to place themselves at risk for people they don’t know. 

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