Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

  • Review Date: May 26, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Cold War-influenced exit of classic space crew.
  • Review Date: May 26, 2008
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Starfleet is notably racially and species-integrated, and there is a strong sense of friendship, duty, and loyalty. There is also the theme of militaristic types (in both the Federation and Klingon Empires) being unable to let go of old grudges when the chance comes for reconciliation. Kirk, initially, can't forgive Klingons for killing his son, but he sees the bigger picture.

Violence

Ray-gun fire that both disintegrates flesh, dismembers, and draws blood (floating in zero-gravity globules). Kirk vs. alien fights. A man freezes to death.

Sex

A joke about locations of alien genitalia. A coy reference to Kirk having made love to an alien (and how often that happens).

Language

Kirk starts to say "Son of a..." but leaves it unfinished. "Go to hell" uttered by Spock, of all people.

Consumerism

Keep in mind that Star Trek is a wealth of products all by itself.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Humans and Klingons go overboard with social drinking of "Romulan ale." Inmates of the Klingon prison smoke an unspecified substance.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the narrative centers on an assassination, which, even though it involves ray-guns, spills a lot of (Klingon) blood and shows gore. There are assorted fistfights, a man quick-freezing to death, and spaceships battling. References to heavy drinking, smoking (apparently a marijuana-like drug) and, less obviously, how Captain Kirk manages to have sex with most every attractive alien girl who crosses his path. Unimpeachable military authority (Starfleet) is cast in doubtful light.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Made after the death of Gene Roddenberry (to whom it's dedicated), STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY is calculatingly engineered as a farewell adventure to the beloved Star Trek TV cast. The plot is a clear parallel to the off-screen thaw in U.S.-Soviet relations. When the dangerous, militaristic Klingon Empire suffers a potential doomsday disaster after their power-station moon explodes (think Chernobyl), the liberal Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (think Mikhail Gorbachev) accepts a historic Federation peace accord to allow an organized humanitarian cleanup. Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) volunteers the USS Enterprise and a shocked Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) for the diplomatic rendezvous, arguing, logically, that the negotiations will be more legitimate if the Klingon's greatest enemy is on board for it. But Gorkon is assassinated in a sneak attack seemingly originating from the Enterprise. Kirk does the unthinkable -- surrenders -- and faces a Klingon court, while Spock and the crew investigate and try to unravel the high-level conspiracy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The veteran cast appears to be having a fine time going through their paces -- they literally all sign their autographs over the end credits -- and Sulu (George Takei) is now a captain with his own starship. Thrilled yet? Then enjoy. It's fast-paced, the space-battle scenes are spectacular, and overall good feeling is such you usually don't mind the mystery plot is a klunky affair, filled with question marks (Shouldn't there be better security at the most important peace conference in Federation history? If Klingons had a shape-shifting alien spy, wouldn't she have been put to better use?).

The U.S.-U.S.S.R. parallel spoke at the time to fears that warriors in America and Russia had lived too long in ceaseless conflict to put down their weapons and face a changed world, and Kirk's ability to surmount his own anti-Klingonism is nicely rendered. Interesting to note that in Roddenberry's original TV show, Starfleet was (like the U.S. armed forces in golden-age Hollywood depictions) an upstanding military that could do no wrong. That sure changed by the time this was made.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Cold War historical parallels (Gorkon -- Gorbachev, hmmmm...), and phrases such as "the end of history" surfacing in the dialog, that were prominent with the fall of the U.S.S.R. Gen. Chang's fondness for quoting Shakespeare -- it's practically half of everything he says -- could inspire some reading of the Bard. Also, can you spot Mr. Spock's reference to Sherlock Holmes?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 6, 1991
DVD release date:January 26, 1999
Cast:David Warner, DeForest Kelley, Kim Cattrall, Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, William Shatner
Director:Nicholas Meyer
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Adventures, Space and aliens
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:violence and language

This review of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 19, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Undiscovered is ok

This is a good movie, just some deaths that are done stylized.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bystarbuck 78 August 21, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Good movie, don't be so wimpy

This movie reflects the attitudes that were very strong during the close of the cold war. The gore that everyone speaks of is purple and ridiculous to be shocked by. The reference to smoking;so what, he didn't do it regularly and its a scene that takes 5 seconds at most. The space battles, again, so what. I watched Star Wars at 5 yrs old, and it did NOT scar me for life. People need to quit shielding children to the point where the REAL world will eat them alive; you are not doing them any favors. Otherwise there were some amusing parts, some suspenseful, alot of action, and most notably the requirement to think. The end is a little corny,we are talking Star Trek, but all in all , its a good movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion May 4, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

A Good Finale...

Though not the best in the series, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY does not disappoint, and it serves as a rousing finale to one of the greatest sci-fi film sagas. Language is milder than the other films, containing one "b**ch", one "d*mmit", and one comical "go to hell". Sex is very minor as well; Kirk kicks an alien in the knee, and the alien seems very hurt. Only later does he discover that "not all aliens keep their genitals in the same place." Violence is iffy, though only one scene is any worse than the others. Unknown assassins go to a Klingon ship and shoot people with vapor rays, causing them to bleed in zero-gravity. One man has his arm shot off.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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