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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 Into Darkness is the 12th Star Trek movie overall, and the second installment in director J.J. Abrams' big-budget series reboot. The biggest issue is sci-fi/fantasy violence, with lots of punching, fighting, and shooting, a little blood (though not much), and some deaths (including an important supporting character). It's more exciting than it is intense. The main character (Chris Pine) is shown getting out of a bed he's shared with two alien girls, and there's a sexy underwear scene with a female co-star. Language is infrequent but includes a couple of uses of "s--t." The main character is seen drinking in one scene after getting some bad news. As in the first one, the Trek team comes together to do the right thing, no matter how difficult that may be.
What's the story?
In STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) gets into trouble by breaking the rules in order to save Spock's (Zachary Quinto) life. But when a madman (Benedict Cumberbatch) attacks an archive facility on Earth, Kirk and the old crew -- including Bones (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin), and newcomer Carol (Alice Eve) -- get a new mission: Destroy the villain. Then Spock convinces Kirk to capture him instead, which leads to all kinds of new trouble. And Kirk learns that no one can be trusted until he and the crew of the Enterprise learn the secret behind their deadly prisoner.
Is it any good?
Director J.J. Abrams, despite his massive popularity and success, shows some flaws with uneven pacing in this movie, pitching moods and scenes too high and letting things drag on too long. And his idea of "style" seems to be camera-shaking and lens flares (the latter of which was once considered a mistake in moviemaking and was only implemented in the 1960s for effect).
And while Pine's blue-eyed, pretty boy rebel character has little to do with the original Captain Kirk, the rest of the characters thankfully seem to tune in to their classic counterparts, and their performances and line readings can be great fun. Likewise, Star Trek Into Darkness has a good, enthralling story at its core and some strong ideas buried beneath the empty style that eventually win the day.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Star Trek Into Darkness' violence. Does it ever feel over the top? Is it exciting or gruesome? Which do you think it's intended to be? Why?
What's the difference between following the rules and doing the right thing? Is there a simple answer to this problem?
Why do you think Star Trek has such enduring appeal? What makes people become such faithful fans? How does the reboot compare to the older movies and TV shows?
- In theaters: May 16, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: September 10, 2013
- Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
- Director: J.J. Abrams
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and aliens
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 132 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
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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.