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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Starfleet is racially and species-integrated, individually quirky but respectful and appreciative of differences. They function as a great team, working together for positive outcomes. Female characters, often on the sidelines or simply love interests, are particularly strong in this mission.
Positive Role Models
Kirk asks Spock to lie -- which Vulcans can't do, but he's able to "exaggerate" deceptively to achieve their mission. However, overall, Kirk and Spock demonstrate a strong friendship free of prejudice, and are willing to put the needs of others above themselves.
Violence & Scariness
A brief flashback to a spaceship explosion from Star Trek III, but otherwise this is renowned as the Star Trek movie without a single shot fired in anger. One character does suffer a fall, and disastrous storms batter the Earth. Some stock footage of the killing and butchery of whales.
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Mr. Spock tries to fit into 20th-century culture by swearing gratuitously ("colorful metaphors," he calls it), played as comedy. Words used include "Goddamn," "hell," "dumbass," and "dips--t." A punk gives Kirk and Spock the finger.
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Products & Purchases
Apple computers get a plug, as well as the Yellow Pages and other 20th-century billboards. Star Trek itself is quite a commodity.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking. Kirk explains Spock's alien ways to a 20th-century heroine by saying he did heavy drugs in the 1960s.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the most farcical of the big-screen series. As much comedy as adventure derives from the journey of the Starfleet heroes to 1986 Earth, and the relative rudeness and local color they encounter in San Francisco. While this installment is less scary and violent than most other Star Trek movies, there are instances of comical swearing and drug references. There is also a depiction of the killing of whales. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie successfully captured the same lighthearted spirit of some of the classic 1960s TV episodes. The bulk of the fun of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home -- and it is fun, much of the time, played for breezy laughs, despite the mortal peril for the Earth -- centers on the super-competent 23rd-century visitors' awkwardness fitting into 1986 Earth society and dealing with money, rude people, profanity, exact bus fare, and more.
The cast has seldom been more charming (and that's saying a lot), and there's a running undercurrent about Spock gradually reconnecting with his shipmates and learning to balance logic with emotion. Sure, the special effects are good too (note the use of early CGI to simulate the time warp), but it's the beloved characterizations that set it apart from the vast majority of screen science-fiction that's all about the gadgets, rockets, aliens, and monster costumes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.