A plot (for those, who didn’t watch the cartoon)
The cartoon starts with a dedication to « brave firefighters all over the world who risk their lives to save the lives of the others».
The first scene is an aviaracing. We are meeting with the main character – plane Dusty № 7 Crophopper.
He takes part and wins in racing, using full throttle. The character enjoys his triumph, gives autographs and interview for TV show, where he is praising his team for supporting and helping in victory. It is shown the Dusty’s team and his friends: trainer Skipper, mechanic Dotty, refueller Chag, technical
assistant Sparky and firefighter Mayday. The team discusses, that in their town «Propwash Junction» the annual agricultural festival is going to take place soon, where everybody is going to watch personally popular racer Dusty.
Skipper offers Dusty to fly for training , but during the flight the accident has happened. Plane makes emergency landing. Mechanic Dotty inspects Dusty and announces, that gearbox is worn. It couldn’t be replaced, because it is outdated spare part and it is not manufactured anymore. Dusty can’t fly at the full throttle. So he is forced to leave sport.
The team sits in a local bar, discussing what has happened. Mechanic and technical
assistant tell that they won’t calm down until they find a necessary spare part for Dusty. The ex- employer comes and says that he is agree to hire him for previous post – to water fields with fertilizers.
Dusty is upset and flies out for wading his cares away. During the flight the character touches a power line and lands unsuccessfully, making a fire on the town gas station. Mayday comes to extinguish the fire. Because of holes in his fire hose, he can’t manage with it, the fire is extinguished by Dusty’s team with the help of dropping water tower.
Next morning after the fire, the vehicle service representatives of staff transport come and say that there is an extremely non-compliance in a Propwash Junction and the current state of the equipments is badly, and if the Mayday won’t be upgraded and get an assistant, the city will be closed due to neglect on the fire safety requirements. Citizens are nervous, and Dusty offers him-self as a «firefighter Mayday» candidate. Mayday sends Dusty to get study the craft to the commander of the fire brigade and his old friend Blade Ranger.
His base is located in a place called the Piston Peak, there is a national park and an elite recreation.
Dusty arrives at the place and meets with the local fire brigade: they are a «girl-plane» Dipper, a helicopter Windlifter,a liner-ship Cabbie and crew of ground fire trucks, as well as a helicopter Blade Ranger and a machine mechanic Maru, whom Dusty meets later. Dipper gets to know the famous racer Dusty, she declares herself as his fan, and tries to allure him.
The forest fire is taking place, and the team flies for fire-fighting operations. Dusty follows to look at this. The work team shows itself smoothly and efficiently. After the fire operation Dusty meets with his new teacher Blade. By Blade’s order Maru equips Dusty by necessary details for firefighting work. Maru shows Dusty the wall of fame with died firefighter planes , «Yeah, it’s dangerous work, but that’s the job of firefighter, risking their lives for people they even don’t know. They fly in when others are flying out. It takes a special kind of plane».
Dusty studies under the direction of the Blade, but the study is not going smooth. Character is assured, and the teacher tells him that self-assurance – is the 1st reason of the accident.
Dusty contacts with friends of the Propwash Junction, who are reporting that have found a spare part, and it will be delivered soon.
The local chief Spinner arrives on the fire fighting base. He is delighted by the presence of sport star Dusty and requires his appearance at the opening of the recreation center.
The chief mentions that the Blade is also a celebrity. Dipper and Windlifter promise Dusty to tell about it later.
At night, the team is going in the hangar. Planes and cars are watching the TV series «The California Air Police», where Blade has been starred. Dusty wondered if Blade is a star, what is he doing here? The team answers that he does not tell them, and they don’t ask.
The next day, the fire alarm is declared. Blade after persuasion agrees Dusty to take part in the extinguishing the fire too. Maru takes his photo, just in case (for the wall of fame). Blade commands, but Dusty takes his own initiative in extinguishing the fire. After that Blade chastises Dusty for it.
In the evening the celebration is arranged at the recreation center, which told Spinner about. Dusty and the team arrive on the celebration. There they meet the couple – trailers Harvey and Winnie. Friends sit around the campfire and tell stories.
In the morning Dusty is informed with the sad news from the Propwash Junction – the gearbox was not possible to get.
At that time, a new fire alarm is announced: because of the tourists the fire started in a recreation center. Fire brigade departs. Blade gives directions for the extinguishing the fire, but Dusty ignores it, thinking about the problem of his gearbox. Due to the not following the instructions, the hero gets into troubles. Blade has to disembarrass him from danger. And in the end they are locked by fire, hiding in the old mine.
In the recreation center the guest-evacuation begins.
Dusty and Blade get out from the rubble mine. Blade is in a bad state and falls during taking off. Dusty calls for a help. Blade is brought to the base, where he is repaired by mechanic Maru. Maru tells Dusty that Blade has become a fireman when he lost his best friend – the actor from the series, where he was starred. He arrived in time to his friend for help in a dangerous situation on the shooting, but did not know what to do, and he died. Blade seemed that it’s all over for him, but he decided not to stop, trained as a firefighter and began to save others.
Meanwhile, the machines’ evacuation from the recreation centre continues. The team goes to the fire-fighting without Blade. The fire is very strong, and the team has to overcome many difficulties.
Harvey and Winnie trailers-couple stuck on a burning bridge in the canyon, and Dusty flies to save them. Repaired Blade appears and helps them. Together they manage with the situation, but at the end of it Dusty, who was using the full thrust, which was impossible to do because of the defects breaks down and falls.
Dusty is being repaired at the Maru for 5 days. As a result, the repair is done, everything is corrected, including the gearbox. Now the character can use the full thrust again.
The final. Dusty is at home in Propwash Junction, he is colored as the firefighter, now he’s an assistant of fire truck Mayday. The Monitoring service recognizes the Propwash Junction is suitable for using. Fire brigade from Piston Peak with Dusty demonstrate air tricks on the agricultural festival.
The cartoon «Planes: fire and rescue» contains both positive and destructive ideas, which in a usual manner of the Disney’s company are mixed in a single story.
Firstly, about the positive part:
An honorable profession.
The «Planes: fire and rescue» brings out clearly one of the most honorable professions – the profession of a firefighter. In prologue we see the dedication to its representatives all over the world, «who risk their lives to save the lives of the others». The story shows, how the main character improves his life throughout this path. Values of a feat and self-sacrificing aid for the others are demonstrated to the viewer.
Team work and mutual help.
Right after that goes a translation of one more flawless value – the importance of the well-coordinated team cooperation and mutual help. It is demonstrated by actions of the team from Propwash Junction (Dusty and his friends) and the fire-brigade from the Piston Peak. Helping each other, characters successfully overcome difficult situations, what they couldn’t do alone.
Unobsession and progression.
A wonderful idea is presented in the beginning of the plot. The Plane Dusty that was confronted with impossibility to continue his sport career doesn’t obsess about his «injury», doesn’t allow it to break his life, him-self. He decided to be engaged in something else, something he is able to do, but of the same importance and value. The character says: «Well, I’m here because I’m between races right now, so I’m helping out some friends».
The same example of progress against obsession is given by a character ranger Blade. He goes through a great loss and disappointment, but doesn’t give up, and becomes a firefighter to keep living a worthy life, helping to others at the same time. He says to Dusty: «Life doesn’t always go the way you’re 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».
Life situations of these two characters are duplicated by the meaning, and thankfully that they don’t stick in their problems and have a spirit to move forward, they gain a qualitatively renewed life. Progression (in the form of becoming a firefighter) helps them both – Dusty as a result solves his primary problem – gets repairing (* though some of the reservations in that line will be represented slightly below), and Blade gains a new friend, whom he could rescue in a dangerous situation, in contrast to mentioned bygone case at a serial shooting.
Now about the destructive part of the cartoon:
Strengthening of stereotypes
The world of machines is demonstrated to a viewer as identical to the real world, which is achieved by the technique of easy recognizable analogies and creates some kind of comicality. However in the first place this is urgent for adults, because recognition is provided by the case, that many of the analogies are created on the well-known base of «adult», low-lying stereotypes.
For example, through the fire-engine Mayday the stereotype of the old-man complaining about his health is moved forward very actively. It has been used for some times during the cartoon, creators at the same time accent very clearly the reaction of his surrounding, showing how big the repulsion of the old-man complaints is. In that way the cartoon transmits disrespectful set regarding to old age and old people.
Mayday demonstrates his siren (breaks wind), for his friends to listen:
Reaction on demonstration of the corroded bumper:
There are some repetitions of a so-called «pick up» stereotype, hint of «frivolous relations» between sexes, but the main accent is stressed on the alcoholic leisure of characters. It will be spoken in the next few points.
By parasitizing on the base motives, which is widely put in the cartoon, creators prepare soil for their strong positions in the child’s conscious. Old age = bad, frivolous relations = good, alcohol = good.
The tribute to an alcoholic leisure
Alcohol is promoted by the manipulations with ideas in the toon world of machines. In the presented world «oil» for cars and planes means both food (that is a basic necessity) and equally an alcohol.
How does it happen: for example, in one episode subordinate character, who found him-self under the threat of the job loss, says: «how would I refuel?», meaning oil as his sustenance, «daily bread», in another episode characters claims: «Lets draw some oil», showing further a joint alcohol ingestion.
The same verb «to fill up» equally means here «to feed on» and «to drink an alcohol».
This mixing of ideas and stable flashing of the mentioned theme in a frame lead to the case that alcohol inseparably links with nutrition thus becomes some ordinary necessity in a frame of norm.
It’s just a small part. During the movie this theme appears in a great volume.
I could also suppose, why such an alco-theme is presented in this cartoon. Parents, who are watching the cartoon altogether with their children perfectly catch mentioned parallels and stereotypes, and, for example, if they are laughing at some comic analogy and comparing it with the case of their lives, they support thereby this alcohol promotion and give their child a non-verbal signal of their approval of the theme. Thus a child adopts a parents’ appraisal.
Sexual context and «frivolous relations»
It didn’t do without sexual context, which easy to identify by an adult. The same way as it went with an alcohol it is possible to transfer recognition-approval from a parent to a child. Or it may be presented as a subject-matter for child’s memorization, for the future, to keep in reserve. Such signals will be accumulated during watching to similar inform-products – and the sexual context in the Disney’s cartoons and films is always on its place – openly or subliminaly. It is a «hook» for gradual pinning a person on a worked over cult of this theme, from the early childhood. A metaphor appears in the episode of the gathering at the fire:
Harvey: «For our wedding day, bought her the best set of whitewalls.»
Whinny: «We wore off the treads on our honeymoon.»
[Everybody are shocked]
Clear enough for an adult person. And as it was said, a great accent is stressed on a «frivolous relations»:
Dipper: «I’m Dipper. That’s what everyone calls me, so you can do too»
Dusty: «Okey, Mrs…»
Dipper:»Dipper. Yep» [Flirting roaring]
Dipper:»Park it over here, Dust Storm. Our first date, and I saved you a spot.»
Hugs him with some kind of a mechanic part. Answers to a Dusty’s surprise: «Yes, they’re real.» (In a meaning of «natural» part of the body)
Mr. Secretary asks Spinner about the wildlife conditions.
Spinner answers:«The wildlife! Well, if you come to the party tonight, there’ll be plenty of party animals».
An episode of a picking-up in a serial:
A policeman rescued a lady: «Are you alright, miss?»
The Second policeman: «Hey, baby.»
Lady: «I am now.»
The second policeman: «Nice catch today, Blade. Speaking of which, she’s got a sister».
Technocracy and consumerism
The main character of the cartoon Dusty faces with the case that could possibly happen in a real life. A clear analogy is addressed to a viewer: a character had been going in for sport unsparingly giving his health away and faced a breakage (=illness), which blocked his way to further sport activities.
A modification of Dusty’s problem (a breakage, a hope for a spare part changing, a disappointment etc., and an unexpected repair in the end) is imaged with a going through an honorable way by the character (becoming a professional firefighter), that somehow links Dusty’s mentioned problem and its solving and progression of the character (* mentioned positive theme of a non-cycling!). That is how the story leaves an impression of a logic and moral presence.
But something strongly changes this positive idea. In fact Dusty’s drama of a broken gearbox – including all of the taken analogies between the technical cartoon world and the real world, with all experiences of the main character and parallel done heroic action – is absolutely UNEQUAL to a drama that could be happening in a real life.
The main point is that Dusty as a mechanism could be repaired in every part of the plot. It should also be mentioned, that the character with a smile says, when he gets to know for the first time about his breakage: «Well, you could just replace it. Order a new one from A – G Parts.»
Though the viewer is guided afterwards through different peripetias of the plot. Dusty, with his pragmatic noticing, in the end appears to be right! If it is not one, but another mechanic fixes the character.
Despite that nobility and feat themes in the cartoon are very good and important, and every positive idea is well collected, this repair, that solves a central problem, doesn’t have straight correlation with a quality changes of the character, with changing of his life that could be in the cartoon a reflection of principles of the real world. The correlation is in the only thing, that Dusty, when he had become a firefighter met a proper mechanic (Maru). However the absence of the straight correlation is faded away and not situated in one logic chain «links» are performed to a viewer as a presupposition and a solution.
- Fairly speaking, a cartoon of a technical subjects can’t probably bring something like that: a working at self-improvement machine «humanly» solving its problems. But if such kind of cartoon is produced, with an elevated, «pure» morality…
What happens in this story: Dusty is broken, he is not allowed to use a full throttle, he does it in a key moment, it would appeared that he breaks once and for all, then is fixed and continues to live as he did, but more self-realized, successful and with louder fanfares around him – with an obtained excellent profession, that is pulled out as a matter of a «healing».
This approved by the creators aim secretly turns on ideas of consumerism and technocracy (a stress to perfection of technologies and inferiority, imperfection of human nature).
Here is a «portability» of such principle in life in a banal example:
one person eats too much sweets and he gets a caries. The person is «repaired» by a dentist – but if he won’t take an experience about him-self and continues to reproduce a cause of his «breakage» (as Dusty does!), in other words he will start to eat kilos of sweets again (=using a full throttle, when it is not suppose to be done), no one, no technology in the face of progressive medicine or anyone else, won’t help him except him-self – to stop and change his aims and not to create his illness anymore.
But the technocratic way of life means that the human nature is imperfect, that’s why it shouldn’t be trusted, it’s better to put an attention on technology rising for any aid to a human being. And instead of finding reasons, why, in correlation with what a person gets a «breakage», why the caries appears, a heart aches, bones breaks etc., some kind of dispute with nature starts. A «technocraced» person, doesn’t think, if it looks like something should not be done(to eat tones of sweets or wear out a constitution by abnormal physical activities), but put perfect technological «supports» everywhere, where as he thinks they have to be put. There is an anti-humanity contained in a technocratic philosophy, in a such sense that technological usage appeared to be in the forefront, but self-improving and improving of a life, rationality of behavior, responsibility for one’s actions, spirituality (- to what children should be taught with the help of information products) – is superfluous and unnecessary.
The «Planes: fire and rescue», during drawing parallels to reality, is secretly instill this idea of a technological consumerism and a support for «living with a full throttle», an idea of a «repair» with out a correlation to self-improving. To sum up, the «Planes: fire and rescue» – is some kind of a seed of a technocratic philosophy for children.
In that case, I couldn’t miss a moment with a «tattoo» of a main character. This picture is situated on Dusty’s nose:
A human skull with two crossed wrenches, which are presented here as bones. It also supports the theme of the technocracy vs humanity. For the creators this manifestation is so important, that the tattoo is painted either on the Dusty’s left side:
And the right side:
When Dusty is in the frame, the skull in that way is also always in the frame, it’s the message to learn, that is carried through by a positive character from the beginning to the end of the story.
The tattoo also reminds of a pirate sign, representing an anarchy symbol, and it by its meaning duplicates with an anarchical behavior of a character, that changes the core of his honorable path again.
An anarchacity as a positive trait
In the time of training the main character is being disturbed by such character trait as an anaracity, this is emphasizely demonstrated, Dusty is self-assured and constantly acts without listening to his mentor, because of that he gets into troubles, but as it goes in Disney’s products, a destructive trait doesn’t correct anyhow, «soaped» and positively leads to the final as it is.
There is a clear barrier to the manifestation of Dusty’s anarchacity – it’s Blade with his mentor lessons. And what is in total: the barrier is eliminated by the plot (Blade gets breakage during the final fire and goes to out), after that the main character takes an initiative and demonstrates at that his trait freely, without any lectures from the outside, there is no one to give them. While continuing to be anarchy and acting him-self the same way as earlier Dusty in some reason avoids past troubles. He successfully extinguish the fire without Blade’s pieces of advice. In that way, creators give a «green light»: anarchacity and disobedience to a teacher are some kind of normal things.
Because of that the core of Dusty’s honorable way changes again, so he doesn’t cope with the negative inside, which was bothering him, he just leaves everything as it was. This could be identified as a regular Disney’s regard to escapism. Why does something have to be changed inside, if you could set aside everything as it was.
It proceeded to get worse.
Self-destruction as a good
It has been spoken higher about cartoon’s promoted positivity of a technical consumerism, technocratic philosophy. In the cartoon it is linked with another, even more basic theme. Altogether with constant flashing of alcohol and a couple of clearly rum moments, about which will be spoken lower, the cartoon represents an idea of self-destruction as welfare:
- The main is that because of fixing (=technological consumerism) Dusty can continue living the «full throttle» (= actively spread by the marketing world slogans «ask for more», «no limits» etc.) – thereby a tendency of positivity of self-destruction is presented to us, by the faith to the technological support principle of the «full throttle». This principle, which is widely spread by marketing world nowadays, where service, technological «pills», toys are widely offered as the highest welfare, a support and healing to counterbalance the responsible working on the prime cause – the self-cultivation. As a result, a deep idea is that kind of thing, if technology supports by a magical «crutch» any of the denial and moving against the self- human nature (in other words self-destruction), so why not? Use the full thrust, the technology will fix you up, drink alcohol, the technology will put you a new liver, destroy your health, the technology will give you new legs, arms and so on. The human nature is – a dust, nothing, technocracy is our everything.
- There are the only dead heroes on the cartoon characters’ wall of fame (died in fires and other accidents (a helicopter-actor Nick Lopez). The story tells about a dangerous profession – yes, but there was nothing that prevents to picture the heroes, that were remarkable in working, veterans of the affair etc., or either remarkable survivor or dead on the wall of fame. And here are ONLY dead ones, exclusively. At the same time the character Maru, who initiated viewers into a dead-people-on-the-wall-of-fame theme by his monologue, rather gaily, even blood-thirstily takes a picture of Dusty for this wall before his first flight for the extinguishing of fire.
- To the same money-box of the self-destruction theme goes the utterly weird, inappropriate looked story by the helicopter Windlifter as a toast: «A toast to Coyote. It was he, who drove all day and all night to the base of Bright Mountain. With much difficulty, he climbed the mountain to obtain fire, and brought it down to the first vehicles. But in so doing, he burned his tires. And when Coyote saw his blackened tires, he thought they were his favorite snack, and he ate them! For he knew they were still full of life. And it was in this way. He let go of the old, and renewed himself, like fire renews the earth. « So eating of one-self (self-destruction) is presented as a renewing (good). And characters drink to that story, saying «CHEERS!» – therefore they cheer self-destruction of them-selves!
Altogether we get a distressing, destructive chain: an alcohol as a norm + anarchism and disobedience + dead are in the high fame + self-destruction it’s we + living on a full throttle + technological consumerism. On the whole it looks like a suicide’s reminder.
A positivity of an intrusion?
As an additional point, I will mark a presence in the cartoon (*an American cartoon) an Indian, which causes an expected anxiety. The helicopter Windlifter’s line again causes ideas of «the positivity of intrusion», a fusion with an enemy, that was steered to perception through the popular Indian-theme cartoon – «Pocahontas». Besides the weird toast, about which has been spoken earlier, and apart of the fact that its general part is a demonstration of the some kind of funny Indian spirituality (the character for everybody’s delectation predict incoming fires), Windlifter tries on up-to-date glasses during one episode.
And this is a rather historically «stained» picture: an Indian and the wares.
By the way, the character Maru, who preaches wise improvements, and solves the main character’s problem, during the dark toast is the only one, who smiles at full length, demonstrating his gladness for the «self-destruction as good», and during the trying on glasses of the Indian, also alongside is ready to confirm appropriateness of the wares, which is casting on the definite ideas, for example about the State, where such informational products are created, that are purposely suggest a destruction into children’ heads.
In the whole, the cartoon «Planes: fire and rescue» evokes a particular regret – about the fact, that the truly good themes (an feat, self-sacrifice, progression, friendship), which a desperately need in an adequate presentation in culture generally and in child’s production especially, are mixed here with a destructive ideas, and this is happening in a such way, as you were offered a cup of coffee with an arsenic or a cake filled with worms, that firstly causes a deep wish to put away all the edible parts for usage, but in the end it is has to be admitted that the product is rotten, and it is not for eating anymore.