A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Trek: The Motion Picture features sci-fi violence, including the implication of death, and some intense moments amped up by music. When it was first released theatrically, the movie received a G rating, which was revised to PG for the director's cut. There are allusions to sexual activity, but nothing onscreen. Some aspects of the story involve spiritual/moral questions. Like all Star Trek offerings, this one reflects a multicultural universe largely concerned with peace and the well being of all people (and aliens).
- Parents say
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What's the story?
After years deskbound as an admiral in Starfleet, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE begins with James T. Kirk (William Shatner) reassuming command of the starship Enterprise, just refurbished with the latest gear and weaponry. Their mission is to stop a cosmic menace, a shimmering force field from uncharted space that is heading for Earth and destroying anything in its way. Kirk is in an uncomfortable situation, having demoted the younger, more tech-savvy Captain Decker (Stephen Collins) in order to get his ship back. First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is a late arrival on the mission, having unhappily opted out of joining a monk-like mystical order of pure logic on his home planet of Vulcan.
Is it any good?
While the $42 million budget generated almost as much awe in itself as the movie's cosmic menace, the best part about Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the reunion of beloved small-screen cast members. Far more complex than the film's plot is the story behind the many years it took to bring the first Star Trek film to the big screen. It's commendable that the filmmakers, for the most part, stuck to the TV show's model of character-based dramatics, and an interplanetary menace was defeated using intellect and good judgment, not light sabers.
Still, the film is a pretty ponderous spectacle. When the Enterprise enters the vast, cloudlike boundaries of the intruder, an awful lot of the movie is indeed the cast gaping at the shimmering light show, right up to a quasi-mystical finale that might have some viewers more puzzled than dazzled.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sci-fi violence. How realistic is the violence seen in this movie? Does it make the same impact if violence is in a sci-fi setting?
The Star Trek series and movies always made a point of having a diverse cast. Why does having diverse media role models matter?
How does Star Trek compare to other science fiction franchises?
- In theaters: December 7, 1979
- On DVD or streaming: November 6, 2001
- Cast: DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
- Director: Robert Wise
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 143 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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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.
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