Mom's Movie Review: Disney Planes — Fire & Rescue

Caution: Spoilers ahead

Planning on taking the kids to see Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue? See what MomSpeaker Lisa Lightner and her 5-year-old thought of the 3-D family flick — including guidelines for parents whose kids have special needs or sensory issues. Caution: There are spoilers in the last paragraph, so stop reading when you get to the red spoiler alert farther down if you don't want to know what happens.

Recently I had the privilege of attending a media preview for the new Disney movie Planes: Fire and Rescue. I had seen some commercials for it and was excited to attend. Since this was an evening movie and my older son had school on Tuesday, I opted to only take my 5-year-old. In three words . . . we loved it.

In talking about the Disney Planes movies, I think many people draw parallels to Cars and Cars 2. We have seen both of those and own both, but we actually have yet to see the first Planes movie. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What was of particular interest to me is that Planes: Fire and Rescue takes place in a fictional national park, and we just got back from a two-week vacation that included several national parks out West.

What you need to know if attending with a child with special needs or sensory issues: The movie is in 3-D and it is dizzying at times. Like any other movie in a theater, it is loud. I went to the theater at King of Prussia and it’s a very nice theater. You have to wear 3-D glasses, like cheap sunglasses, to see the movie. If you take them off the movie is then blurry. The movie is short, just under  90 minutes. These are just a few things to keep in mind to determine if your child will enjoy themselves.

It’s a great movie and even if a movie theater experience won’t work for your child, get the DVD or go to a sensory-friendly screening (there's one on July 26; click here for info). Adults and kids will love this movie.

I had to explain quite a few things to my son. He recognized some of the iconic elements of the national park — the giant lodge (we have just been to the one at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon), the rock formations (we just saw in Arizona and Utah) and the mountains and woods (like what we saw in Colorado). I love that he had a point of reference in seeing these. There is also a scene that includes a giant sequoia, a huge waterfall and other things your family may have seen.

Not having seen the first Planes movie, I don’t know how many of the characters from Planes are in Planes: Fire and Rescue. But I loved the characters. You’ll hear familiar voices including Julie Bowen (I LOVE Modern Family and Ed) and a few others. Those of us who are, ahem, a bit older will recognize a familiar voice and a CHiPs reference. I loved that show as a kid. You may also recognize some of the musicians, such as Brad Paisley and AC/DC. The movie moves quickly and there are several adult jokes and innuendos that will keep parents interested and entertained, even if they go over your child’s head. I had to explain about wildfires and a few other things, but my son loved it, too.

Spoiler Alert: Don’t read any farther if you don’t want to ruin any surprises.

No one dies! Yay! There are a few serious injuries, but everyone makes it through the movie to a happy ending. Lately my little guy has been fixated on talking about some dogs we had that have passed on, so I’m not looking for any more opportunities to talk about death. There are quite a few anxious moments during some of the fire scenes and some of the rescues, but you can rest knowing that everyone will make it. It was weird how emotionally invested I got in some animated characters. I was almost in tears near the end when they were fixing up Dusty.

Overall a great movie that I highly recommend!

Lisa Lightner is a Chester County, PA mom of two. This post was adapted from the blog A Day in Our Shoes, which she co-authors. It provides support, resources and advocacy services for parents of children with special needs.

Categories: MomSpeak