It was inadvisable the first time, never mind the second and third. But now we’re on the starting grid for part four of Toy Story genius John Lasseter’s infatuation with animating vehicles.
After Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011) got the green light from his own children, we’re now up to Planes 2, or what is effectively Cars With Wings 2.
Personally, I can scarcely tell the difference between any of them. Animating machines without finding a way to create any real emotion in their eyes – the holy grail that animators of all descriptions are still struggling with – means another 90 minutes or so of relative detachment from the silver screen.
Here, Dane Cook returns as the voice of unlikely champion racer Dusty Crophopper.
A dodgy gear shaft means he’ll have to retire, so Dusty turns to firefighting with near disastrous consequences.
Ed Harris voices veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and some all-terrain vehicles are known as The Smokejumpers. Thunderbirds they ain’t.
There’s a lovely scene early on when an ageing tender has to reverse before successfully completing his well-worn turn back to base, but for the most part This is a film of flames, loops and swoops where you don’t really care whose ‘life’ is at risk.
Lasseter directed the two Cars movies for Pixar before turning executive producer, farming out the Planes idea to parent company Disney (which he also now runs) as a means of giving young creatives some intended straight-to-DVD experience.
All well and good for audiences under seven who will doubtless enjoy the action.
But compared with Frozen, this story of heroism is second rate stuff that’s unlikely to light your own fire.