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Star Trek

Classic franchise gets new life; OK for older kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 8, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:November 17, 2009
Cast:Chris Pine, Eric Bana, Zachary Quinto
Director:J.J. Abrams
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures, Space and aliens
Character strengths:Teamwork
Run time:126 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content

This review of Star Trek was written by

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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 scene was truly unnecessary to the plot of the movie, as Kirk's womanizing ways are established all through the film over and over. I really loved the movie, I just get annoyed when they throw stuff like this in just to push their rating to a PG-13 to get teens to see it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written bykellipetrelli November 11, 2010

Hey, if you have to watch a remake, might as well see this one

Hey, if you have to watch a remake, might as well see this one. In this reboot, the characters Spock and Kirk argue and clash a lot, but in the end, they work toward being friends, despite their differences. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto (Sylar from heroes) Are two of my favorite actors, and the true-to-life friendship they have just made to movie better. at frist i was iffy about this movie, since star trek was my childhood, but my dad, sister, and I ended up LOVING IT (and that's saying something, because my sister HATES star trek) Some Violence, regarding phasers, and fist fighting, and a few characters die, but otherwise, family friendly movie... (:
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old February 10, 2010

Great geeek funny movie

Smart action packed science fiction comedy space movie attacks back to theaters.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing