A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some critics of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier have interpreted an unsubtle anti-religious message here. The villain is a religious fanatic with a barbaric flock of pilgrims and a fondness for mind control. As for the vague, godlike being (perhaps even the God) he seeks, it comes across as a manipulative, power-crazed alien-monster menace. There is also drinking, mild curse words, and some fist-fighting and ray-gun violence. A brief subplot involves physician-assisted euthanasia (portraying it more or less with disfavor).
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What's the story?
The first four Star Trek movies flow neatly into each other to tell one continuous saga, wrapped up in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but now the series starts over from scratch in STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER. But Starfleet still orders Captain Kirk and his crew from their camping trip and marshmallow roasts (!?) to speed to a desert planet, where ambassadors of the Klingon and Romulan Empires have been taken hostage. The Enterprise is thus lured into a trap and hijacked by Sybok (Lawrence Luckinbill), Mr. Spock's long-lost brother, a renegade cult leader. Sybok intends to literally find heaven and God by taking the ship into a forbidden zone of space.
Is it any good?
With uneven scripting and effects, this is considered the least worthwhile of the big-screen Trek adaptations; it feels like a slipshod, just-before-cancellation episode of the original TV series. It's great to see the classic cast interacting -- and there's a revelation about Dr. McCoy that explains the spacegoing physician's grouchy House-like attitude -- but the rest is mediocre. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier's defense, the previous three Star Trek movies were a tough act to follow.
The journey to this "Final Frontier" resolves in unsatisfactory fashion, with lots of ray-gun blasts but few answers. In fact, it's easy (and, unfortunately, makes the most sense) to interpret the movie as a photon torpedo-salvo against religion.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tone of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Is it anti-religious? Producer Gene Roddenberry (not the only major contributor to Star Trek, but a leading figure) is often counted among celebrity atheists, yet nonfiction books have also been written about the "spirituality" of Trek.
Which elements of the Star Trek universe are possible and which are purely science fiction? Is there any technology that they have in Starfleet that is similar to something that exists today?
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