Star Trek XI opens with the USS Kelvin travelling through space on a routine patrol. A Romulan ship with advanced weaponry appears out of a ‘singularity’ (black hole) and fires several missiles at the ship. The Kelvin’s captain is ordered aboard the Romulan ship. He is killed by Nero (Eric Bana), the leader of the Romulans, who seems confused about the current date and the location of Ambassador Spock. Nero continues his attack on the Kelvin, so acting Captain George Kirk orders the crew, including his pregnant wife Winona (Jennifer Morrison), to abandon ship. As the escape pods move away from the Kelvin, we see Winona giving birth to a son, whom she names James Tiberius Kirk. After hearing his son’s name and saying goodbye, Captain George Kirk rams the doomed Kelvin into the Romulan ship to destroy it.
The following scenes portray the early years of James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto). Young Kirk is depicted as a rebellious child, while a young Spock battles with controlling his emotions. As a young man, Kirk is still rebellious, and spends his time in bars chasing women and picking fights. Following a bar brawl, Kirk is approached by Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), who dares Kirk to join Starfleet. Not wanting to refuse a dare, Kirk takes up Pike’s offer. Immediately he forms friendships with fellow Starfleet cadets Dr Leonard ‘Bone’ McCoy (Karl Urban) and communications whizkid Uhura (Zoe Saldana). He also forms a somewhat shaky relationship with Spock, who is now a Commander.
Just after Kirk and his fellow cadets graduate, Starfleet Command receives a distress call from Vulcan. Kirk, Spock and fellow crewmembers board the newly built Enterprise. They head off to do battle with time-traveller Nero, who is determined to avenge the future destruction of his home.
Alien worlds; time travel; death of a parent
Star Trek XI contains intense action violence, bullying, some reckless and life-endangering behaviour and infrequent depictions of blood and gore. For example:
- There are several intense battles between space ships. Ships ram each, lasers and torpedoes hit ships, onboard explosions cause debris to fly in all directions, and crewmembers are thrown through the air. Numerous deaths result from the battles, although very little blood and gore is depicted.
- Nero spears a defenceless man through the chest. We do not see the spear reach the man’s chest, but hear that man has been killed.
- A young boy drives a car at high speed in a reckless way while being chased by a policeman on a jet bike. The boy deliberately drives the car towards a cliff, jumping from the car just before the car goes over the cliff. The boy clings to the top of the cliff then pulls himself back up.
- Spock as a young child is bullied by other Vulcan school children who taunt him about his human mother. When one of the bullies calls Spock’s mother a human whore, Spock leaps at the boy. Spock throws the boy to the ground and viciously punches him several times in the face.
- Kirk starts a fist-fight in a bar. He punches a large man in the face and sends him flying over a table. A bar brawl erupts. Glasses and tables are smashed, and a glass is smashed across the face of a man. During the fight, Kirk falls against a woman, accidentally grabbing her breast. The woman punches Kirk in the face. Kirk lies across a table while being repeatedly and viciously punched in the face until he is senseless. When the beating finally stops, Kirk’s face is very beaten and bloody. Later he has a wad of bloody toilet paper pushed up each of his nostrils.
- Kirk, Sulu and a third man jump out of a space shuttle and free-fall towards a suspended platform. The third man crashes into an energy beam, which instantly incinerates him. Other men are incinerated in a similar way.
- When Kirk and Sulu reach the platform, they are attacked by Romulans. There is a fist fight between Kirk and the Romulans. Sulu uses a Samurai sword to fight a Romulan who has an axe. Sulu impales the Romulan through the back with his sword.
- Spock’s mother is killed when the ground collapses from beneath her, and she falls down a cliff.
- Pike is strapped to a table while being questioned by Nero. Pike is tortured into talking when a mind-controlling bug is placed into his mouth. Pike screams and convulses on the table.
- We see Kirk deliberately taunting Spock about the death of his mother and the destruction of Spock’s planet. Spock is so upset that he punches Kirk several times in the face and then almost strangles him.
- Nero’s ship is sucked into a black hole and then torn apart by the hole’s forces. Before Nero’s ship is destroyed, Nero says that he would rather die in agony than accept assistance from Kirk.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:
- A pregnant woman in labour sits on a table with her legs apart. She screams with contraction pains while she is told to push. The newborn baby is placed at her side and she cries.
- Nero’s ship has a threatening insect-like appearance. Nero himself has pointy ears, and his face is covered in tattooed designs that make him look menacing, threatening and intimidating.
- The movie contains several freakish humanoid aliens. Some have protruding foreheads, long faces, bumpy foreheads, scaly or rock-like faces, and large black eyes.
- After having a bad reaction to a vaccine, Kirk’s hands swell up to many times their normal size.
- A man is strapped to a table. An alien creature resembling a large crawling scorpion is placed into the man’s mouth. The man screams and convulses.
- An alien creature resembling a ferocious wolf with large fangs chases Kirk across the snow. The creature is just about to pounce on Kirk when they are both attacked by even larger creatures.
In addition to the scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- The film’s prologue depicts Kirk’s father George sacrificing his life by deliberately crashing his ship into a Romulan ship. He says goodbye to his wife (as she gives birth to James) and tells her that he loves her as his ship crashes and explodes.
- Young Spock is psychologically bullied by his peers.
Children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
This movie contains some sexual references and double entendres. For example:
- Kirk says to Uhura, ‘I mean you’ve got a talented tongue’.
- An adolescent Vulcan boy tells Spock that his mother is ‘a human whore’.
- A man insults Kirk, telling him that he only has sex with farm animals.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Many people drink beer, cocktails and spirits in a nightclub scene.
- Kirk drinks beer in a couple of scenes.
- Kirk attempts to flirt with Uhura while he is drunk in a bar.
- Dr McCoy drinks from a hip flask.
- Dr McCoy injects Kirk with a vaccine, and then gives Kirk several other injections when he develops a bad reaction to the vaccine. McCoy also gives Kirk a tranquiliser injection after which Kirk falls unconscious.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Uhura kisses Spock on the lips in a couple of scenes.
- During a bar brawl, Kirk grabs hold of a woman’s breast by mistake.
- Kirk passionately kisses a woman in her apartment, and they strip down to their underwear. A second woman walks in on them, so Kirk hides under the woman’s bed. The second woman takes off her top and pulls down her pants. She is in her underwear when she discovers Kirk hiding under the bed. Kirk promptly leaves the room.
None of concern
This movie contains some medium-level coarse language and putdowns.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Star Trek XI is an action-packed science-fiction adventure. It provides a new perspective on the two leading characters, Kirk and Spock. Established fans of this long-running TV and movie series are likely to be impressed with this movie. Newcomers might find it difficult to relate to some of the movie’s references.
The main messages from this movie are:
- We are capable of choosing our own destiny.
- Sometimes doing the right thing requires putting aside logical thinking in favour of following your own heart and doing what feels right.
Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include selflessness, bravery and heroism. This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss the following attitudes and issues with your children:
- Kirk’s rebellious behaviour as a youth and his willingness to defy authority as a Starfleet officer
- Kirk’s willingness to cheat, lie and bend the rules if it suits his needs
- Kirk’s belief that the end justifies the means and the fact that he often gets away with this.