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Non-Review Review: Planes 2 – Fire and Rescue

It’s the eyes.

When computer-generated animation first emerged, the hardest part was the eyes. Figures could be rendered in a completely photo-realistic fashion, right down to individual strands of hair, but the eyes were always a problem. If the eyes weren’t right, the animated characters – no matter how thoroughly rendered – inevitably felt like they were beckoning us into the uncanny value. The opposite was also true; cartoonish figures and inanimate objects could be imbued with incredible humanity if the eyes were right.

All fired up...

All fired up…

The computer-generated animation in Planes 2: Fire and Rescue is certain competent. It is not cutting edge, but computer-generated animation has reached a point where it doesn’t have to be cutting edge to work effectively. There are action sequences, there is physical comedy, there are stylised insets. While Planes 2: Fire and Rescue doesn’t break new ground, it is relatively polished.

However, it’s the eyes. A stylised decision in keeping with the world established in Cars, the planes have eyes that look like two-dimensional drawings on the windscreen. It’s a very simple representation of the eyes. It is also a decision that undoubtedly makes them a lot more toyetic. The planes can move their wipers and control the height and width of their windscreens to generate all sorts of exaggerated expression. However, the eyes never seem more than stickers, unable to convey depth or nuance.

Flying so low...

Flying so low…

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