Story

When a mission involving the Enterprise and its crew ends in disaster, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) loses command of the Enterprise. He’s reassigned as first officer to Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), his old mentor.

After a secret Starfleet installation is destroyed by a bomb attack, Kirk and Pike are called to attend a meeting of high-ranking officers at Starfleet headquarters. The meeting ends in disaster when a rogue agent named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) uses a gunship to attack Starfleet headquarters. He kills several officers including Pike. In retribution for the attack, Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) authorises Kirk to hunt down Harrison, who has fled to the Klingon home world of Qo’noS. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise travel to Qo’noS. After a short but violent encounter with a party of Klingons, Kirk, Mr Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Lt Uhura (Zoe Saldana) apprehend Harrison. But then things get complicated.

It turns out that Harrison is really a genetically engineered superhuman named Khan. Along with 72 other genetically engineered superhumans (Khan’s crew), Khan has been imprisoned in cryogenic sleep for 300 years for trying to destroy the inferior human race. Admiral Marcus thawed Khan and forced him to use his superior intellect to develop advanced war machines to be employed against the Klingons. Admiral Marcus used Khan’s cryogenically frozen crew as hostages.

Kirk must join forces with Khan to defeat the real villain of the story, Admiral Marcus. Fortunately, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise survive both Admiral Marcus’s and Khan’s treachery and win the day. The final moments of the movie see Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew heading off into deep space on a five-year mission to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Themes

Genetic engineering, superhumans; war and weapons; conspiracy; friendship and loyalty

Violence

Star Trek into Darkness has science fiction action violence and danger throughout. Although there isn’t much blood and gore, there is a high body count and the movie has several scenes that show mass destruction. For example:

  • Spock wears a heatproof suit. He is lowered by a cable from a shuttle into an erupting volcano. Lava, smoke, flames and fireballs shoot out of the volcano. The cable lowering Spock snaps and he falls into the volcano. He lands on a stone ledge where he arms a cold fusion bomb to stop the eruption. Initially it looks like Spock can’t be rescued. Lava erupts all around him as he kneels on the ledge waiting for his death. At the last second as the bomb explodes, Spock is beamed to safety and isn’t hurt.
  • A large group of Starfleet officers are in a room in a high-rise building, which has a full-length glass window for a wall. A man flying an attack aircraft flies down and blasts the glass window. Cannon fire sends glass and debris flying in all directions. Cannon fire hits several people, and they fall to the ground dead. No blood or gore is shown. One man lies on the ground with a bloody bullet wound to his abdomen and blood dripping from the corner of his mouth. The man dies with his eyes open. James Kirk cries when the man dies.
  • In one perilous scene, Klingon airships chase and attack a Federation shuttle. Klingon ships fire their laser weapons, which hit the Federation shuttle and cause multiple explosions, but the Federation shuttle keeps flying. The shuttle dodges around buildings and dangerously flies sideways through narrow gaps between two buildings as it tries to escape.
  • There is a brutal hand-to-hand fight between Klingon warriors, three Enterprise crew members and Khan. In the fight, a woman stabs a Klingon in the leg; Klingons are shot at close range with laser guns; characters punch each other in the face and body; a man has his head bashed against the ground; and Khan is bashed in the face with the gun stocks.
  • Another scene shows James Kirk brutally punching Khan in the face and stomach until Kirk is too tired to keep going. Khan doesn’t seem hurt.
  • In one brutal fight, Khan stomps his foot down on to the leg of a woman lying on the ground. We don’t see his foot hit the woman’s leg, but we hear the sound of bones breaking and the woman screaming in pain.
  • A battle scene between two ships shows one ship firing its lasers at the other. There is a large explosion that causes a massive hole in the side of one ship. Many people are sucked out into space and killed.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • There are many alien and humanoid characters in the movie. Some have scary faces with reptilian, cabbage-like and stone-like features. Some faces are painted with a white mud-like substance and have red eyes.
  • Klingons wear war-like metal masks. When the masks are removed, the Klingons look similar to Klingons in other Star Trek movies, but they also look fiercer. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • A young girl lies unconscious in a hospital bed with her parents standing at her side. Her mother cries and is very upset. It looks like the young girl is terminally ill and her parents are waiting for her to die.
  • In one emotionally charged scene a main character dies after being exposed to radiation. The character seems very sickly before he dies, and he dies with his eyes open. Another character cries when he dies. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • There are a couple of bar scenes with people drinking alcohol. One scene shows a main character in a fairly drunk state.
  • One scene shows a father injecting what looks like blood into his sick child’s IV. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • One brief scene shows Kirk waking up in bed with two alien women. They look human except that they have cat-like tails. The two women wear bikini-style underwear.
  • In a bar scene there is a very brief image of two aliens kissing. They’re humanoid but have reptilian faces and long lizard-like tongues that stick out of their mouths and entwine.
  • A female character asks Kirk to turn around so she can undress. When Kirk turns around and looks at the woman, she is wearing only her underwear. 

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Star Trek Into Darkness is a thrilling and visually stunning science fiction action adventure with fantastic special effects. This movie has the whole cast from the 2009 Star Trek movie, but secondary characters such as Sulu, Scotty and Chekov make only token appearances. Instead the movie focuses on the relationship between Kirk, Spock and Khan.

The movie will entertain and satisfy its target audience, and Star Trek fans won’t be disappointed. But the movie is best suited to children over 15 years because of its violence, scary scenes and coarse language.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include staying true to your beliefs. For example, the movie shows that there are always people who want to harm others. But when you try to stop them, you have to be careful that you don’t become like them.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the following:

  • Self-sacrifice: both Kirk and Spock are willing to sacrifice their lives for the safety of their friends and the greater good.
  • Friendship, acceptance and tolerance: although Kirk and Spock are very different, their friendship is so strong that they can accept and tolerate those differences even though there’s a high cost for this.
  • Kirk’s reckless manner, attitude and behaviour and the real-world consequences: in the movie, Kirk doesn’t obey rules or take responsibility for his reckless behaviour. Several times this behaviour could have – and in real life probably would have – ended in disaster.