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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?
How do the characters in Star Trek demonstrate teamwork? Why is this an important character strength?
- In theaters: May 8, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: 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
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