You might think that a movie about talking cartoon planes and vehicles would have zero interest for anyone over 10.

But Disney's "Planes: Fire & Rescue" is a very pleasant surprise. The sharp screenplay delivers an intelligent tale with engaging subplots.

The firefighting backstory creates dramatic tension that drives the narrative with meaningful purpose. The setting is beautiful and eco-friendly. Many scenes highlight the importance of caring for our forests and national parks. Yet plenty of snappy dialogue and comic relief promise to keep kids and adults well engaged.

The animation is terrific. It features old-school-style basics with just enough CGI to make it first-rate eye candy for the viewer. The scenes of forest fire rescue operations are especially captivating. Events on screen provide life lessons about teamwork, courage and honor for young viewers.

Plus, all the action and humor moves forward at a brisk pace in a running time of less than 90 minutes. This movie is worthy family fare.

—John Depko

*

'Lucy' is fast but dumb

Director Luc Besson is known for stylish, female-driven thrillers such as "The Professional," "La Femme Nikita" and "The Fifth Element."

In "Lucy," he ponders human intelligence from "evolution to revolution," but it quickly devolves into brainless action.

As explained by an esteemed professor (Morgan Freeman), humans use only 10% of their brain power, while dolphins are blessed with 15%. Imagine if we could expand our capacity — we could use our built-in sonar to forever banish traffic jams.

Or, we could turn into a fembot like Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), first seen as a hard-partying bubblehead living in Taiwan. She accidentally absorbs a drug that really does expand her mind.

Johansson briefly flexes her acting chops when abducted by a gangster (Choi Min-Sik) who has the drugs surgically implanted into her perfectly toned abs, and in a tearful call to mom when they are removed. This gives us a brief chance to connect with her character.

But Besson knows we didn't come for wimpy displays of emotion. We came to see a sexy girl kick some serious something in her Louboutins. I like the notion that increased brain power gives a person an unlimited budget for clothes and travel, as well as a propensity for lightning-quick violence.

Men are superfluous here unless they are ruthless killers. The handsome French cop (Amr Waked) is only useful as eye candy. Freeman does lend an air of gravitas to the insane plot because, well, he's Morgan Freeman.

"Lucy" is chic, bloody entertainment that moves at warp speed. Its goal is to swim with dolphins, but it only sleeps with the fishes.

—Susanne Perez

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.