Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Star Trek

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Star Trek Movie Poster Image
Classic franchise gets new life; OK for older kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 126 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 75 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 118 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Even with its sci-fi action and occasional flirty sexuality, the movie has positive, welcome messages about individual responsibility, collective accomplishment, institutional tradition, and working for the greater good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Almost every character in the film puts aside something -- regret, pain, selfishness -- for the ultimate mission, with teamwork as its own reward. Zoe Saldana's Uhura is a strong female role model. Good cast diversity.


The sci-fi military-style action violence is plentiful but not especially bloody. At one point, an entire planet (with a population in the billions) is destroyed. The crews of various starships are pummeled by explosions, struck with torpedoes, sucked out of hull breaches into space, and generally assaulted. A character is impaled with a sharp-ended staff; another falls to her death; another receives several harsh pummelings. Some fistfights. Humanoid aliens are shot close-up; a monstrous beast threatens a character.


Some suggestive talk and kissing; two female characters are seen in their underwear. An underwear-clad couple makes out on a bed, though it initially seems like they're having sex. There's a joke about "farm boys having sex with animals."


Some language throughout including "arse" (in the context of kicking), "damn," "ass," "hell," "oh my God," "bulls--t," "goddamn," and "whore." One clear (though not particularly noticeable) use of "f--king" in the lyrics of a Beastie Boys song played during a scene.


The movie is set in the 24th century, but somehow Nokia and Budweiser manage to make appearances.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer, wine, and hard liquor, sometimes to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this slick, upbeat sci-fi adventure isn't much more violent than the earlier Star Trek movies, there's a heightened feel that gives Star Trek a little bit more edge. While the action is (mostly) bloodless, it's also intense; expect lots of fights, battles, and hand-to-hand combat. At one point, the villains destroy an entire planet of humanoid aliens. Some of the comic relief scenes have a flirty, playful sense of sexuality (Kirk has always been a ladies' man), but that's balanced by the mature depiction of a relationship. There's also a bit of language ("bulls--t," etc.) and some drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byGrisabella June 19, 2009

Great movie adds near sex scene to push rating to PG-13

"softcore sex scene" is much closer to the truth than "characters in their underwear make out on a bed" as you state in your review. That s... Continue reading
Adult Written bysarahkay89 November 17, 2010

Exciting movie. Good for adults or teens, not children

Great movie, but I'm sorta a Trekkie at heart anyway. Some violence and one inappropriate "groping" scene with Kirk and a green woman. Overall I... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old February 10, 2010

Great geeek funny movie

Smart action packed science fiction comedy space movie attacks back to theaters.
Teen, 13 years old Written byYeah. February 28, 2011

Check out my page for other great recommendations.

I'm not here to give a review because if it shows up on my page its a 5 star movie and so therefore you know what i think about it.

What's the story?

Re-starting the Star Trek franchise from its very foundations, STAR TREK begins as a time-travelling bad guy comes from a far-flung future to the early days of the Trek universe. Seeking to avenge a future tragedy, unstuck-in-time villain Nero (Eric Bana) attacks the very foundations of the Federation, including Vulcan and Earth. The only ship that can stop him, the Enterprise, is in the hands of untested Starfleet officers Spock (Zachary Quinto), McCoy (Karl Urban), and a rebel who just barely made it on board, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

Is it any good?

Rocketing at warp speed without ever slowing down, J.J. Abrams directs this reboot as a smart, speedy thrill ride that doesn't indulge in nostalgia for its own sake. Star Trek welcomes newcomers while still delivering every moment fans might want from of the crew of the Enterprise. Quinto and Pine are both excellent in their own right and also have a real chemistry between them, while Zoe Saldana turns the thankless role of communications expert Uhura into a vital part of the story.

The film isn't perfect -- there are a few minor missteps -- but at the same time, it's also lovingly made, speedily paced, and completely aware of its job: to entertain audiences without leaning too heavily on speeches or sadness, opting instead to deliver action, adventure, and (perhaps a little too much) comedy. Still, in an era when too many summer blockbusters think they can get away with being dumb by claiming to be "fun," it's a pleasure to see a movie as well-made, clever, and charming as this actually seem to want to earn our money by putting on a real show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring appeal of Star Trek -- what makes people become such faithful fans? Why do you think the studio decided to make a new version? How does it compare to the older movies and TV shows? 

  • Talk about revenge, which is a major theme in the film. Ask kids whether it's ever justified to hurt others in the name of revenge. How much of the movie's violence can be traced back to that motivation? How much impact does it have compared to the violence in other action movies? Why?

  • There is a good amount of diversity in the cast, both mirroring and improving on the original series. Why does having diverse media role models matter?

  • How do the characters in Star Trek demonstrate teamwork? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love Star Trek

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate