Kids don’t have a problem with anthropomorphic characters populating their culture and entertainment — just look at nearly every single Disney sidekick (from horses to teacups, monkeys to crabs) — which helps explain a lot of the love that the little ones consistently heap on both the Cars franchise and its Planes spin-off. Adults may have questions about how an entire world populated only by mechanical vehicles works (and the popular theory regarding how every Pixar film ties together, and one which basically makes every car and plane a terrifying war monster, manages to both speak to this and remind us to be careful what we question, because do you want to view smiley-faced trucks as harbingers of human, no, you do not), but the kiddos don’t care. They just like what they’re looking at.
But we’re not kids. And we have a lot of questions about how these things work. Next week, Walt Disney Pictures will release Planes: Fire and Rescue, the first (and we’re going to assume, not the last) sequel in the Planes franchise that took wing with last year’s Planes. While the first Planes film was all about a high-flying around-the-world ariel race, Fire and Rescue is about, well, fires and rescues. Lead character Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) is back, but now he’s working on a new career: as a plane dedicated to snuffing out fires and leading rescues in what looks to be a massive national park. It’s a cute premise, but man, do we have some questions. Here’s what Plane: Fire and Rescue needs to answer for us.
1. Who are we rescuing?
2. Do national parks still exist? Is this a protected area? Is their a government that administers these things?
3. Oh, my God, is there a government?
Here’s the official synopsis for Planes: Fire and Rescue, taken from its IMDb page, which inspires more questions:
When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his team, a bunch of all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.
4. Why doesn’t Dusty just retire?
5. How can he be so damaged that he can’t be fixed?
6. Does Blade Ranger know about Blade Runner?
7. Can all-terrain vehicles actually jump or is this a misnomer?
8. Who started the wildfire? Did anyone start it? Was it someone evil? Was it just sparks thrown off because every being in this world is a machine?
9. Does Lil’ Dipper (voiced by Julie Bowen) know about astronomy?
10. Is Chug (voiced by Brad Garrett) an alcoholic? What is the equivalent of alcohol in Planes? Is it oil? We bet it’s oil.
Here’s a trailer for Planes: Fire and Rescue, which emphasizes courage:
11. Do the planes and other vehicles like being out in nature?
12. Why am I crying? Is it the music?
13. Does Planes pass the Bechdel Test?
14. Is Dipper (Miss Dipper?) in the running for being a cool new female heroine? She seems brave.
15. How is everyone so shiny and clean?
16. Who is doing this “certification” that Dusty apparently needs? There is a government, isn’t there?!
17. Who the hell manufactured those tiny vehicle cowboy hats?
18. Wait, was that a shot of a sad helicopter pensively perched on a cliff? How many emotions do these things feel?
Here is another trailer for the film, one that’s apparently all about “thunder”:
19. What kind of scientific breakthroughs have the vehicles made?
20. Wait, I’m sorry, what? Is there a vehicle here that’s meant to be taken as being a Native American vehicle? How? What?
21. Who is in charge of maintenance? Aren’t there certain things that require human hands?
22. When are we getting the Trains spinoff?
23. Why do the vehicles know about bombs?
24. Now these vehicles can write?!
25. Are the vehicles big Elvis fans?
26. Who taught them to dance?
27. What does a plane know about jalapeño chili? What are they eating? Do they need to eat? Is there still food?
Here’s an extended trailer:
28. So, yes, they do care about nature and vistas and vacations?
29. Who made these vehicles? Did anyone?
30. How do they mate? Do they mate?
31. We’re sorry about that last one. (But, be honest, you have to wonder how this world is populated.)
32. Explain the eyes.
33. “The Fuse-Lodge”? We’re sort of sold now.
34. Do the vehicles know about The Shining? Are they partial to the book or the film?
35. Why are there no animals in this national park? Where are the animals?
And here’s a new clip from the film:
36. They like television?
37. They like Erik Estrada?
Planes: Fire and Rescue opens on July 18.