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Western Animation / Planes: Fire & Rescue

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Pictured above: Big Damn Heroes

When world-famous air racer Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voiced by Ed Harris) and his courageous air attack team.

A sequel to Disneytoon Studios' Planes, a Spin-Off of Pixar's Cars franchise.


  • All There in the Manual: A lot of character back stories, especially the Smokejumpers and the stories behind their names.
  • Alliterative Name: The TV show co-starred by Blazin' Blade and Loop'n Lopez was created by Rick Rotor.
  • Arc Words: "Take a special kind of plane"
  • Ascended Extra: While most of Dusty's friends given smaller roles in this movie, Mayday, who was a silent extra in the first film, gets a much larger role here, as his outdated equipment becomes part of the reason that causes Propwash Junction to be shut down.
  • Asleep for Days: Dusty's near-fatal accident after he blows his gearbox from saving the RV couple leaves him in an endless coma until being repaired by Maru, allowing him to wake up five days after the accident.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Dusty wrecks his gearbox saving Harvey and Winnie and suffers a near-fatal crash, Maru spends the next five days repairing him. When he finally wakes up, Windlifter askes if Maru told him about how it went. Maru's tone throughout his description of what he fixed implies he was able to repair everything but Dusty's ruined gearbox, leading both him and the audience to think he'll never be able to fly again. After Dusty solemnly thanks Maru for doing what he could, Maru cheerfully reveals he's completely fixed Dusty, having replaced his old gearbox with a custom-made, "better than new" gear box of his own making.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Dusty is using the waterfall to reload his tank and save Harvey & Winnie, a couple of old RVs trapped on the bridge, it seems like he's not going to make it, as Winnie is close to falling off the bridge. Then, out of the smoke, Blade Ranger swoops in and uses his hoist to keep Winnie from falling, thus enabling Dusty to save the couple. We also have Wind Lifter leading the team out at night, flying through the fire to save everyone at the Park. Dusty knowing his gear box is busted and that he will most likely crash and die saves the RV's.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Dusty had this reaction when Blade ordered Maru to rip off his landing gear
    Blade: Maru?
    Maru: WHAT?!
    Blade: Rip off his landing gear!
    Dusty: Uh, wait, What?!
  • Book Ends: The movie starts and ends with Dusty participating in a flying event.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Mayday borrows Lightning McQueen's "Ka-chow!".
  • Call-Back:
    • Like in the first film, Dusty goes to a bar while his friends give him comfort and support him.
    • Also, this isn't the first time that Dusty was carried back to safety and rebuilt after crashing.
    • Dusty's gearbox being damaged by his racing is one to the beginning of the first film, where Dottie warns that his engine was not built for the extreme rigors of racing, and says that overworking it can cause an engine failure.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Dusty cannot bring himself to tell Blade and the rest of the Piston Peak team about his damaged gearbox, which leads to him unable to train properly. He does end up admitting it during an argument with Blade.
  • Catchphrase: Maru's repairs and rebuilds are always "Better than new!"
  • Classified Information: Cabbie's answer when Dusty asked why Blade, a former TV star, becomes a firefighter. They all agree that they will never ask Blade for a reason since it's his business.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lil' Dipper can be off at times, including one notable instance of acting like her teammates are Dusty's friends when she thinks they're going to the Lodge's grand reopening party as a couple.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • Once his gearbox is damaged, Dusty running his engine in the red becomes this.
    • The team never flies at night, on account of this being a terrible idea in a heavily forested canyon. They're ultimately forced to in the climax.
  • Dare to Be Badass: After Dusty admits his broken gearbox to Blade, instead of asking him why he didn't tell him about his disability before, Blade quietly understands and encourages Dusty not to give up becoming a firefighter.
    Blade: Life doesn't always go the way you expect it. But you came here to become a firefighter. If you give up today, think of all the lives you won't save tomorrow. So, what are you going to do?
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Blade Ranger has one involving his days as Blazin' Blade Ranger on the TV show "CHoPs" and the untimely death of his co-star Nick “Loop'n” Lopez during a TV stunt gone wrong. He felt like it was his fault that he wasn't able to save his friend because he didn't know what to do. Maru tells Dusty this after repairing Blade and letting him rest for the night.
    Maru: It was just a routine day on the set and Nick, he was doing his trademark loop for a stunt scene, but there was this freak crosswind. Blade was the first one on the scene but... he didn't know what to do. His best friend was gone and Blade thought his life was over too, but he didn't give up. He got trained, got certified, and came here. Blade, he used to pretend to save lives. Now, he saves them for real.
  • Dark Reprise: On the soundtrack: The scores “Out of Production”, “Nobody Has Your Gear Box", and “Saving Dusty” all have a sad-sounding reprise of the familiar “Planes” melody.
  • The Day the Music Lied: During Dusty and Skipper’s flying practice near the beginning, majestic music accompanies their flight and swells as Dusty does his vertical... then suddenly Dusty’s gearbox fails, causing the music to abruptly stop.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Smokejumpers, as they exit their carrier plane.
    Cabbie: I will never understand why you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane!
    Dynamite: We're not; we're jumping out of you!
  • Defrosting Ice King: Blade didn't seem that interested in Dusty at first and it was hard to get along with him due to his strict orders. But over time, Blade started to understand Dusty's disability after he admits it during an argument with him and steadily softens with him, before finally warming up and congratulating him.
  • Demoted to Extra: Skipper, Chug, Sparky and Dottie have noticeably smaller roles than they had in the previous film.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Drip: It's a mysterious mystery!
  • Disney Death: Dusty's gearbox fails completely and his engine explodes, as a result of his Heroic Sacrifice to save the campers. He nearly dies from such, but is fixed by Maru and awakens five days after the accident.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the CHoPs episode when Blade lowers his rescue rope, everyone but Dusty shouts "HOIST!" and drink from their oil cannisters; more like this world's version of a drinking game.
  • Downer Beginning: The film opens with Dusty winning races and being famous, then during a flying lesson with Skipper, his reduction gearbox fails and his racing career is threatened.
  • Emergency Services: Fire and rescue units in this case.
  • Emergency Squad Scramble: Set to the music of AC/DC's Thunderstruck no less. They had to cut quite a few verses from ''Thunderstruck'' to make it family-friendly though.
  • Epic Fail: Dusty sees a small fire in the distance and puts it out, but the fire turns out to come from an RV couple's campsite. Blade even comments aside.
    Blade: Good job. You just saved those folks from a nice vacation.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A rather impressive one that zooms through Dusty's engine to the reduction gearbox shattering, as a sign of it faulting in the middle of his flying practice.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Dusty has one when Mayday explains the picture of the S.E.A.T., getting the idea to get himself fire-fighter certification to give Propwash Junction the second firefighter it needs.
  • Failure Montage: Dusty trying to use fire retardant to extinguish a small fire in a barrel during his training. He releases too early, too high, and too low.
  • Firefighting Episode: An installment of the Planes Franchise that revolves around firefighting.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Back in Planes, Dottie was dismissive over Dusty becoming a racer because he wasn't built to race. Her conflict happens to come true as near the beginning, his gearbox fails.
    • The canyon, as noted below, is called Augerin. "Auger in" is an aviation term for a fatal crash, foreshadowing Dusty's sacrifice near the end of the movie in said location.
    • Blade notes Dusty the team cannot go flying at night as that's the fastest way to get a picture on the wall. They actually do go flying at night in the climax, and in return, Dusty crashes and becomes certified.
    • When Dusty is fitted with pontoons, Maru says he rebuilt them and claims they're "better than new". This foreshadows Maru is the one who will eventually rebuild and refurbish his gearbox, something Dottie couldn't do from the start.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Dusty's gearbox goes bad from all the stress he puts it through, and his model has been discontinued so there's no spare gearbox they can order to replace it. As such, he's warned never to redline his engine lest it fail completely. In the end, he gets a custom-made replacement after destroying the old one in a heroic rescue.
  • Good-Times Montage: The movie opens with a montage of Dusty winning races and enjoying himself as a racing star.
  • Guilt Complex: Blade Ranger, who has a serious case of Survivor Guilt (see Dark and Troubled Past).
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • When they're stuck in the middle of a fire and have to hide in a mine shaft, Blade shields Dusty from the heat, doing a number on his engine in the process.
    • Dusty's climatic move to save the day, knowing that his damaged engine will never be able to take the strain.
  • Homage: CHoPs, the in-universe version of CHiPs (with helicopters!). Blade Ranger used to be the star of the show until his co-star, Nick "Loopin'" Lopez, was killed in a stunt gone wrong accident. Lopez is voiced by none other than former CHiPs star Erik Estrada. (Also, the show uses the actual theme tune for the real series.)
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Park Superintendent, Cad, accusing a park ranger, Ol' Jammer, of brown-nosing.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Augerin Canyon. "Auger in" is aviation slang for a fatal crash. It foreshadows Dusty's Heroic Sacrifice near the end, and said place is where he experiences such.
  • Impairment Shot: We get a rather blurry one from Dusty’s perspective as he awakens from his coma after being repaired by Maru.
  • Inciting Incident: The movie's plot wouldn't have occurred in the first place had not Dusty's reduction gearbox start to fail.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: As a result of Cad Spinner's brown-nosing and his attempt to save the Fusel Lodge by rediverting the water main to the Lodge's water sprinklers, the Secretary of the Interior fires him, has him relocated to Death Valley to manage a sauna there, and gives the SUV's old job to the tour guide Ol' Jammer.
  • Magical Native American: Windlifter, one with nature who seems to be able to read the weather. Windlifter's "toast" at the Fusel Lodge is an In-Universe retelling of the story of Coyote. Dusty and Maru sum it up nicely.
    Dusty: You had me up until the part where he eats his own tires.
    Maru: Best. Toast. Ever, Wind. Cheers!
  • Mean Boss: Cad Spinner, the Park Superintendent, who diverted most of the fire and rescue budget into the building of the palatial Fusel Lodge. His It's All About Me attitude and shameless brown-nosing of the Secretary of the Interior do not endear him to his subordinates.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • At the beginning, Dusty is shown winning several races then goes out on a practice run with Skipper... then his reduction gearbox fails and he is forced to return to base, kicking off the plot of the film.
    • In the climax, Dusty redlines his engine to save a pair of old campers trapped on a bridge. He's successful and everything seems good... but it ultimately costed him his gearbox.
  • Never Say "Die": It is all but stated that Nick Lopez was killed in an accident on the CHoPs set.
    Maru: It was just a routine day on the set. And Nick, he was doing his trademark loop for a stunt scene. But there was this freak crosswind. Blade was the first one on the scene... But he didn't know what to do. His best friend was gone.
  • No Indoor Voice: Avalanche, one of the Smokejumpers. He swears he was no where near that snow bank...
  • No OSHA Compliance: Used as a plot point. After the fire at Propwash Junction reveals that their firefighting equipment is outdated and falling apart, its runway privileges are revoked until the place is brought up to code, one of which requires Dusty to go get certified as a fire fighter since Propwash Junction needs at least two.
  • Orbital Shot: A rather good occurrence during Windlifter's story, as the camera rotates around the fire pit to show the perplexed listeners.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Dusty is reluctant to admit his gearbox problem to Blade, and as such makes a number of goofs out of necessity that Blade criticizes him for. When Dusty finally admits it when Blade push his buttons by telling him to go back to racing, Blade gives him a Dare to Be Badass speech. To look at the bigger picture, at that moment, it wasn't the right time to tell Blade about his disability.
  • Punny Name: The Fusel Lodge ("fuselage").
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: A scene during the credits reveals that Cad is now a ranger in Death Valley. He's not taking it too well, but most people wouldn't if they had to work at the lowest point on Earth.
  • Recognition Failure: Upon first meeting Dusty, Cad mistakes him for Ripslinger.
  • Running Gag: Dusty's warning light going off, forcing him to slow down and reduce power.
  • Scenery Gorn: The collapse of the burning bridge at the film's climax is nothing short of terrifyingly beautiful. The scenes of the canyon aflame at the end are also contenders.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, perfectly capturing the splendor and beauty of the American West.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: André, the concierge pitty at the Fusel Lodge, pulls this when Cad decides to reroute the water main to the Lodge's sprinklers after giving the SUV a “Screw you”, refusing to do it because the firefighters need the water to make the fire retardant.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "301" on Blade's fuselage is a hat tip to Helitack 301 of the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection. Helitack 301 and the other CalFire units at Hemet Ryan Air Attack Base served as technical advisers.
    • The Memorial Wall in the Piston Peak hangar has a picture of a Grumman S-2 Tracker of the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (formerly abbreviated as "CDF," abbreviated as "CalFire" since 2007) with "87" marked on the tail. Tanker-87 was lost in a midair collision with another CDF S-2, Tanker-92, over a fire near Ukiah, California in 2001. Both pilots were killed.
  • Show, Don't Tell: After Dusty admits his disability to Blade, Blade showed that he understands by quietly staring at him rather than saying that he understands.
  • Shown Their Work: The movie gives a remarkably accurate depiction of wildland fire suppression tactics and terminology.
  • Silence Is Golden: The scene where Dusty risks everything to save Harvey and Winnie from the flaming bridge only has three instances of dialogue, twice coming from the couple hanging for dear life, and a final one from Blade after they are brought to safety. Most of the scene is music-only to show how intense Dusty's situation is.
  • Silence of Sadness: Following Dusty's Heroic Sacrifice to save Harvey and Winnie despite his faulty gearbox, not a word nor sentence is exchanged during the time when Dusty is found and Maru is repairing him while Dipper watches, and the sounds resume once he wakes up after being fixed.
  • So Last Season:
    • At the beginning of the film, Dusty's design is a mashup of his turbo design from the first film's climax and his racing colors and three-bladed propeller from his pre-Turbo form. When he gets to Piston Peak National Park as a trainee, he gets a new look based on that of the Air Tractor AT-402F Fire Boss.
    • Mayday, after Propwash Junction gets shut down due to him having outdated firefighting gear and the airport not having a minimum of 2 firefighters, gets an upgrade from Dottie with a modern siren and emergency lights as well as a new water nozzle and hose and a new windshield that allows him to see clearly without his glasses.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Lil' Dipper, who was a big fan of Dusty's before he came to Piston Peak. And now that he's in such close proximity, well...
  • Stealth Pun: Look at the tractors in the Piston Peak National Park. They're clearly John Deere tractors. To further drive the point home, one of the tractors has a set of roof lights that evoke antlers.
  • Take That!: "Howard the Truck? You invite me here to watch..."
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Dusty to the not-so Lil' Dipper.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • On the soundtrack, the track “Propwash” features an orchestrated reprise of Skipper's theme from the first movie.
    • The tracks “Dusty Saves the Day” and “You Had Us Worried” also feature a number of reprises. Both of them have a reprise of the familiar melody from the track “Planes: Fire & Rescue - Main Title”; the latter features a reprise of “Propwash” along with a part of the melody of “An All New Mayday” and “Pontoons”.
      • “Pontoons” is a playful and bumbling reprise of the 1940s military-esque melody from “An All New Mayday.”
  • Verbal Tic: Ryker, who rolls a few odd consonants in his speech.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: After his Heroic Sacrifice, Dusty is brought back to base and repaired by Maru, who gives him a custom-built gearbox in the process.
  • Wham Line: When Blade pushes him too far during a heated argument, Dusty finally gives in on his disability, which is why he kept disobeying orders.
    Dusty: I CAN'T! My gearbox is busted! All right? That's why I pulled power. I'm never gonna...
  • You Are in Command Now: After Blade crashes due to the fire causing his engine to overheat while protecting Dusty, Windlifter temporarily takes command and leads the team on their night run to put out the fire and save the evacuating tourists.


Video Example(s):


Dusty's Success

Planes: Fire & Rescue opens with a montage of Dusty Crophopper's successes at becoming an air-racing champion.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodTimesMontage

Media sources: