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Star Trek Beyond
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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Trek Beyond is the 13th Star Trek movie overall, the third installment since 2009's big-budget series reboot, and the first directed by Justin Lin (of the Fast & Furious franchise). There's plenty of big, boomy sci-fi/fantasy action violence, including space battles, crashes, explosions, minor characters being hurt or killed, hand-to-hand and martial arts fighting, and a mean, angry bad guy. A major character is injured, and there's a painful but comical scene involving his impalement wound. Language is infrequent but does include a couple of uses of "horses--t," as well as "damn," "hell," "bastard," and "my God." Two characters in a romantic relationship spend this movie in a fight, so only a kiss on the cheek is shown between them; there's also a brief scene of a woman throwing a shirtless man out of her cabin/quarters. Characters occasionally drink fine scotch or other spirits, but mainly for enjoyment, though one character does try to get drunk. Overall, the movie's good attitude and strong messages related to teamwork and diversity overcome its iffy material, making it a great pick for older tweens and up.
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What's the story?
Deep into their five-year mission to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and civilizations, the crew of the starship Enterprise -- Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Dr. "Bones" McCoy (Karl Urban), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) -- is beginning to feel a bit restless and bored in STAR TREK BEYOND. Unfortunately, their next mission turns out to be a trap; the Enterprise is attacked by a swarm of man-sized ships, reducing it to smithereens and standing the crew on a nearby alien planet. There, they meet an alien named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and a vengeful creature known as Krall (Idris Elba). Can the team discover Krall's plan and stop him before it's too late?
Is it any good?
The 13th overall movie in the Star Trek franchise turns out to be good luck for everyone. It's a fresh, satisfying return to the beloved characters of the 1966-1969 TV series and to a rousing sense of teamwork. Director Justin Lin, who made four of the first seven Fast & Furious movies, somehow finds a balance between recklessness and entertainment. He provides several gargantuan action sequences that aren't exactly flawless but are exhilarating nonetheless.
It certainly helps that co-writers Pegg and Doug Jung bring nerdy goodness to the movie, with a story that's worthy of the old show and an emotionally satisfying equilibrium among the characters. Star Trek Beyond recalls Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in that it corrects the misguided slip-ups that came before it, erasing the showboating and awkwardness of the last few movies and remembering the essence of what made these characters great in the first place.
Talk to your kids about ...
There's quite a bit of diversity in the cast, both mirroring and improving on the original series. Why does having diverse media role models matter?
Talk about revenge, which is a major theme in the film. Is it ever justified to hurt others in the name of revenge? How much of the movie's violence can be traced back to that motivation?
Why does Star Trek have such an enduring appeal? What makes people become such faithful fans? How does this installment compare to the older movies and TV shows?
- In theaters: July 22, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: November 1, 2016
- Cast: Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Zachary Quinto
- Director: Justin Lin
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of sci-fi action and violence
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.