Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof (screenplay), and Gene Roddenberry (original series)
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
Abrams is a very good action director and the movie keeps up a breakneck pace throughout most of its running time. Sometimes it feels like things are moving too quickly; however, it isn't until after the film ends that you realize it absolutely needed to move that fast. The reason being, if the film had slowed down even for a moment we might have had a chance to realize that the script is consistently incredibly stupid. Character motivations are nonsensical, character arcs are repeats of the 2009 film, the plot is ridiculously contrived and the film belongs to that wonderful breed of science fiction that gets anything even vaguely science-related wrong. As an amusement park ride, it works - if you try to hold it up to any kind of scrutiny, it falls apart. All that being said, the strong performances, excellent production values and brisk pacing cover most of the holes and keep things fun and entertaining while watching.
Score: 5 / 10
Director: Chris Wedge
Writers: James V. Hart, William Joyce (original story), Daniel Shere, Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, and Chris Wedge
Stars: Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé Knowles
There's a lot of trope boxes being checked off here: the story is yet another slight twist on FernGully, the characters are bog standard, the plot goes exactly where you expect it to, the comic relief side characters are appropriately zany, characters are voiced by (awkwardly cast) random celebrities, etc. Basically, it is exactly what you should expect from a middle-of-the-road kids' animated movie. On the plus side: the movie is gorgeous, the dog is amusing and Waltz plays a solid villain. Not much more to say, really.
Score: 4 / 10