A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There is a continuing theme throughout about how to react with courage and resourcefulness in a seemingly hopeless situation. Themes of loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, and love run throughout.
Positive Role Models
Even though it means unthinkably rebelling against Starfleet, the main characters go above and beyond to save their comrade. Starfleet is racially and species-integrated. While many female characters are secondary, there is one standout female Vulcan character .
Violence & Scariness
Phaser and photon starship battles, hand-to-hand combat with casualties, and characters evaporated by death rays. Planets and spaceships blow up.
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"Bastard" is uttered in the famous line, "You Klingon bastard, you killed my son!"
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Products & Purchases
Star Trek itself is an enormous commodity.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, toasts, and a 23rd-century bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Trek III: The Search for Spock includes plenty of violence, with hand-to-hand combat (and a knifing), in addition to the usual bloodless phaser fire. There's quite a sense of sadness and loss, too, and a certain heroic starship is destroyed. Kirk and the rest of Spock's friends disobey direct Starfleet orders -- a real first, in a very military discipline-oriented series -- in order to carry out their personal rescue mission. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The main problem with this movie is that viewers lacking prior exposure to other films in the series might be confused about the setup. But for followers of the classic TV cast and science-fiction fans of all ages, it's a great ride. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock ties in snugly with its predecessor Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and the next one in the series, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Put end-to-end, these three practically amount to one super-sized episode. In other words, Trekkie heaven.
Some of the Khan themes seem to have gotten lost in the interim -- there are no more hang-ups about old age for this James T. Kirk, who suddenly doesn't need glasses and brawls enthusiastically. When thunderbolts rip across the skies of an unruly planetscape because someone's having a really, really tough day, it hits mythic, almost Wagnerian-opera notes. But those are minor complaints, in a space-adventure movie that has all the expected stupendous visuals, but also characters that are just as compelling. We know and care for these people, and really root for them as they risk everything for their friends. In a lot of science-fiction spectacles the actors are pretty much stick-figures, but in any given Star Trek movie or series, they're charming, funny, perceptive, touching, pained, smart -- in other words, just as interesting as the futuristic stuff. Even with planets exploding around them.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.