Disney has provided me with an expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the #VeryBadDayEvent and #DisneyInHomeEvent in exchange for my review of the events of the trip. No other compensation is given. The opinions and experiences in my posts are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Disney’s PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE released on Blu-Ray and DVD this week! My whole family LOVES this movie. It’s got something for everyone: action, adventure, feels, funnies, and friendship. As part of the behind-the-scenes look I got at the film on my trip to Disneytoon Studios I had the opportunity to chat with with Jeff Howard, Co-Writer and Paul Gerard, Director of Creative Development. I met both of them once before with the movie was getting ready to release in theaters and now if feels like they’re friends, so personable and fun to talk to.
Jeff Howard is the Co-Writer of PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE and also known for writing PLANES, Tinker Bell, and The Pirate Fairy, among other Disney favorites. Jeff is so cool and his wife is a good friend of mine so I always love to get to talk to him. Very talented at what he does and can explain it all so well. And here’s a little tidbit he told me while we were getting ready to roast s’mores: You know that Tinker Bell jingle that Clank and Bobble sing? “We fiddle and fix. We craft and create. We carve acorn buckets. To hold flower paint.” You know the one, right? He wrote that!! Talent, people.
Paul Gerard is the Creative Development Director at Disneytoon Studios and has been with Disney in that capacity since 2008 so he’s helped bring the whole world of PLANES to life for all of us to enjoy. Paul is also fantastic to talk to. There were a lot of laughs in the room that day and the friendship among the filmmakers is really apparent and definitely contributes to the overall greatness of the movie.
This concept of ‘truth in materials’ is repeated everywhere with everyone we talked to. They want to keep the film as authentic as possible so there is a TON of research that goes into writing a movie like this. The filmmakers worked with Cal Fire really closely to learn all there is to learn about fighting fires from the air. One of the first things they learned is that very few planes are meant to fight fires. They’re all re-purposed, so this idea of second chances began to take shape in their heads and you’ll see that theme in the movie. A lot of things that they have at the base are also re-purposed or built from scratch so another idea, ‘better than new,’ began to seep into the film. Shout out to Maru! He’s one of my favorite characters.
The picture above is of Director Bobs Gannaway and Jeff Howard getting ready to go up in a helicopter with Chuck Aaron. Are you familiar with Chuck Aaron? I wasn’t…yet. He’s the best aerobatic helicopter pilot in the world, sponsored by Red Bull. He won’t teach his own son, also a helicopter pilot how to do some of his maneuvers because they’re so dangerous but he took the Disney guys up in the air!
They survived! Thankfully, right? There’d be no movie without them. Check out this clip below to see what that ride was like. YIKES!
That’s craziness, but all in a day’s work for these guys. Chuck Aaron was a fantastic resource for nailing the authenticity of the helicopters in the movie.
This plane above can fly over a body of water and just skim the top to pick up water, 1600 gallons in 12 seconds, to drop over a fire. I got to go inside and check it out!
This plane is really cool. There’s next to nothing inside of it except these big tanks for water. Jeff and Paul learned all about the planes, what fires look like, sound like, what features a national park would have, and so much more before diving into creating this film. It’s a TON of research and it all pays off in the end when the story is as believable as possible, even given the talking planes!
They had to learn firefighter speak too. For example, one pilot wouldn’t say to another, ‘Put the water a little more over that way.’ They’d say ‘Come left one wingspan on your next drop.’ All of these details keep the film true-to-life which not only make it awesome but a real homage to the people that risk their lives to protect us. Did you know that in California there’s a grid of people ready to respond to a forest fire and get there within 15 minutes? Jeff, and Paul talked to us about their visits to Yosemite and Yellowstone and how the landscape inspired so much of PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE. Old Faithful was a huge influence on the Grand Fusel Lodge. You’ll notice it in the movie! It took the team about a year to write this movie and you can see when you watch it that they did their homework. It’s amazing, all the work that goes into bringing an authentic story to us in the theaters.
A huge thank you to Jeff and Paul, pictured above with me and my dear friend Keri Lyn from She Saved, for all the time they spent talking to us about what really goes into making a movie like this. When you see it on the screen it’s all so seamless and perfect. There’s a reason for that and you’re looking at them! Disney’s PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE released on Blu-Ray and DVD this week! This movie is truly one of my favorite animated features. It’s so exciting and action-packed, but full of humor and heart at the same time. Perfect!
After flying to the top of the box office this summer as the #1 animated movie in America three weeks in a row, “PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” soars to spectacular new heights on Blu-ray and Digital HD, featuring wondrous high definition picture and sound, plus thrilling bonus features, including the all-new exclusive short “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular;” the mock-umentary promotional piece “Welcome to Piston Peak;” “CHoPs” TV Promo and “Air Attack: Firefighters From The Sky,” an exciting inside look at the making of the film featuring real-life smoke jumpers and firefighters. Additional bonus features include Spencer Lee’s “Still I Fly” music video, deleted scenes with filmmaker introductions, and two “PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE” shorts: “Dipper” and “Smokejumpers.” Exclusively available on Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) are the bonus shorts “Blade Ranger” and “Piston Peak.”
You can read my full movie review here and see the 6 reasons why I absolutely LOVE this film! Want more PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE? Check out these exclusive posts:
- My interview with the Director and Producer
- Fire Safety Tips from Van Nuys Tanker Base
- A tour of Piston Peak National Park with the film Art Director
- My interview with Julie Bowen, voice of Dipper
- My voice over of Dipper!
- My interview with the Story Artists