Australian Council on Children and the Media

Star Trek: Beyond

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Not recommended under 12, parental guidance recommended 12 to 14 due to violence and disturbing scenes and characters.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Star Trek: Beyond
  • a review of Star Trek: Beyond completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 July 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and characters
Children 12 to 14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes and characters
Children 14 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Star Trek: Beyond
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes and violence
Length 122 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This is the third film in the current Star Trek series. After three years of their five year mission the crew of the Enterprise, including Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto), Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban), Lieutenant Uhura, (Zoe Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Zulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Velchin), are recuperating at the space station of Yorktown.

The crew’s R&R is cut short when a strange alien arrives in a damaged ship. We learn that the alien, along with her crew, crash-landed on a planet deep within an uncharted nebula and that the crew are marooned and in dire need of rescue. As the Enterprise is the only ship advanced enough to be able to navigate the nebula, Kirk is given the mission of rescuing the stranded aliens.

Unfortunately for Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise the rescue mission turns out to be a trap. When they arrive at the planet to rescue the marooned aliens, the Enterprise is attacked by thousands of tiny ships that form co-ordinated swarms against which the Enterprise has no defence. The Enterprise is destroyed and the crew uses the escape pods to make it to the planet’s surface.

We learn the individual responsible for the attack is a vengeful alien called Krall (Idris Elba). Krall believes that Kirk holds in his possession an alien artefact which Krall is keen to retrieve. Apparently the artefact is a key to a weapon of mass destruction which Krall intends to use to destroy the Federation. Krall’s first intended target is Yorktown.

With the help of an alien freedom fighter named Yaylash (Sofia Boutella) Kirk must find a way to stop Krall.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Space travel; aliens; weapons of mass destruction

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains sequences of sometimes intense action violence, mass destruction of property, mass murder, multiple violent deaths, threats of violence and intimidation, and some blood, gore, pain and suffering. Examples include:

A man is attacked by an alien creature which charges at him, biting and clawing at his neck and clothing. More of the creatures charge the man and swarm over him, clinging on to his legs, arms and torso as he attempts to throw them off.

  • In a battle scene a starship is attacked by thousands of miniature dart-like spaceships that behave like a swarm of bees. The tiny spaceships punch through the sides of the starship causing a massive explosion with people thrown through the air and a section of the starship breaking off. Alien soldiers armed with laser rifles materialise on the decks of the starship and start firing their weapons at the crew of the starship and dozens of the ship’s crew lie dead and injured. An alien attacker grabs a crew member by the throat, lifting him up into the air while strangling him. Another alien is ordered to cut the throat of a crew member but this does not occur.  A number of human and aliens are killed when an explosion rips a hole in the side of the starship and they are sucked into space.
  • The burning starship drifts in a field of its own debris as it falls towards the planet and crashes into cliffs before coming to a stop.   
  • An injured man lies on the ground with a large jagged piece of metal sticking out of his side and blood soaking through his clothing. Asecond man, who has some blood smeared over his face heats a piece of metal to red hot, kneels down pulls the piece of metal from the injure man’s side and the quickly presses the heated piece of metal into the wound cauterizing the wound; the injured man screams in pain.
  • A female alien warrior armed with a power staff and knife punches and kicks three alien attackers in the face and body. She holds a knife to one attacker’s throat and we hear stabbing sounds.  When the fight is over the three attackers are lie motionless on the ground.   
  • A prisoner says that a particular alien would take away prisoners, and then they would hear screaming and never see them again.
  • Several human prisoners hang upside down surrounded by tubes and electrical cables. An alien warrior steps between two hanging prisoners and places a hand on each causing the prisoners to scream out in pain as the alien sucks out the prisoners’ life force (we see some electrical discharge). When the process is over the prisoner are dead, their bodies having a mummified dried out appearance.
  • An alien woman, a test subject, is placed in a room. An alien man activates a devise and we see a black cloud (like a swarm of tiny metal pieces) envelop the woman. We then see the woman begin to disintegrate slowly at first and then rapidly until she is completely disintegrated by the cloud; we hear her shout out in fear as the cloud approaches her.       
  • In a climatic fight between a human and an alien warrior we see the pair punching and kicking each other for an extended period with the human then shooting the alien in the leg. They wrestle and then fall through a glass window to land on a tower; there is blood on the man’s mouth and small bloody scratches on his face. The man activates a device that releases a swarm of tiny black metal particles that engulf the alien, disintegrating the alien’s body as it is sucked out into space.     

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The film contains a variety of strange alien creatures that younger children may find scary and disturbing. Some have a gargoyle appearance, while others have large blue heads, or tentacles and reptilian eyes. One alien woman has a head with a number of bony finger-like appendages sticking out of the side.  At one point the legs unfold to reveal a small device hidden in the top of the woman’s head. 
  • In one scene a reptile-like alien partially transforms to a human form.
  • In one perilous scene two men in a wrecked starship about to crash on a planet shoot out a window and slide down the ship’s hull jumping to safety moments before the ship crashes.  Other crew members disappear through a hole in the ship’s side
  • A man falls over a high cliff and hangs on to the side of the cliff by his fingers until he is pulled to safety by a second man.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned violence and scary scenes and characters.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned violence and scary scenes and characters, although the slightly comical appearance of some of the aliens may make them less scary for older children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger viewers in this age group may also find some of the above-mentioned scenes disturbing

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film but associated merchandise is likely to appeal to children.

Sexual references

The film contains occasional low level sexual references. Examples include:

  • A reference is made to an extended stay in space having an effect on the crew’s interpersonal interactions.
  • A woman dressed in sexy nightwear stands in a hallway in front of a man with a bare chest. She angrily throws some clothing in his face and the inference from the scene is that the pair had recently engaged in sexual activity. 
  • A man and woman’s relationship break-up is discussed in a subtle manner in a couple of scenes.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A man and woman kiss in a couple of scenes.
  • Women wear revealing clothing

Use of substances

There occasional use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Two men drink brandy from glasses and one of them says that the brandy was illegal and could make you go blind. 
  • One scene depicts a birthday party where people drink wine and colourful cocktails. One alien woman sits at a table with a dozen empty glasses in front of her on the table. When asked about the drinks she replies that she drank them to “take my edge off”.

Coarse language

The film contains mild coarse language and mane calling scattered throughout. Examples include:

  • ‘crap’; ‘hell’;  ‘Oh my god’; ‘horse shit’; ‘bastards’; ‘arse’
  • ‘screwy’; ‘green blooded ingrate’; ‘monstrosity’

In a nutshell

Star Trek: Beyond is a science fiction action adventure targeting adolescents and adults, particularly those who are fans of the Star Trek TV series and films. This film is a return to the original characters of the 1960’s TV series and fans will not be disappointed.  The sometimes intense violence and scary characters make the film unsuitable for children under 12 and parental guidance is recommended for viewers up to the age of 14.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • It’s better to die saving lives than to have to live with the guilt of taking them.
  • Life’s struggles are what make you who you are. 

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include self-sacrifice and teamwork. 

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