Star Trek: The Motion Picture – On its way towards Earth, a strange alien craft destroys any vessel that comes into contact with it. Wanting to stop it before it reaches the planet, Starfleet send Admiral Kirk and his trusty crew to investigate on the Starship Enterprise. With limited time and everything at stake, the crew do all they can to discover the secrets of the vessel (which calls itself ‘V’Ger’), but will they be able to stop it before it gets to Earth?

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) – Director: Robert Wise

Is Star Trek: The Motion Picture appropriate for kids?

Rating: U

Running Length: 132 mins

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Genre: Science Fiction


Ten years after the groundbreaking series ‘Star Trek’ ended, the first feature-length movie hit theatres to the surprise and excitement of trekkies the world over. With the ability to do so much more with the special effects, which, considering the time, are very impressive, ‘The Motion Picture’ moved the new franchise away from the hammy and camp offerings of the series (which dated it terribly) into a more serious and modern concept of science fiction since the genre was beginning to be much more respected.

Although the movie had a good plot, it was clear that transferring a series which was entrenched in being an episodic format to the big screen proved difficult. Too many scenes are little more than long, sweeping shots of space or starships and it appeared likely that the plot was due to be used for an hour-long show rather than a feature-length movie, drowning an otherwise good concept in rather boring cinematography that doesn’t advance the narrative.

With a whole host of movies that followed, ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ ensured that the classic series became the mega-franchise that it is today but, despite its place in the series’ legacy, it does not stand the test of time and even the most die-hard Trek fan will struggle to stay interested all the way through.


Two people attempt to use the Enterprise’s transporter (a transportation device which dematerialises a person into energy and beams it to a specified location where it rematerializes on arrival). The transporter malfunctions and both fail to rematerialize at either side, there is a very short visual of a deformed face and a scream is heard before the signal is lost entirely. On contacting the source of the transporter signal where the people returned, the Captain Kirk is told ‘what we got back didn’t live long, fortunately’.

An established character receives a burn to their arm, some burn marks are seen, steam comes off of the wounds and the character cries out in pain.

One scene has intense flashing lights for around five minutes, this includes a beam of light electrocuting several people, non fatally and, when it hits one of the established characters, they disappear and the beam (and the flashing lights) stop altogether.

A female character wears a dress which is incredibly short, the top half is not too revealing but the bottom barely covers her from the front although she is not sexualised in any other way.

More than one character sacrifices themselves in order to save others, while they are established characters, this isn’t distressing and is unlikely to upset children too much.


More than anything, ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ is disappointing; it took an interesting idea and made it boring and long-winded. Because of this, although it should be suitable for kids of all ages, it is likely to be too dull for most aged under twelve.

  • Violence: 1/5
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (the Enterprise travels through a wormhole where time slows down, this causes the voices of the crew to be distorted and could be a little scary for some younger children)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 ( infrequent mild blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 1/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of teamwork, investigating a dangerous unknown, self-sacrifice, jealousy, loyalty and taking responsibility for mistakes of the past.

Words by Laura Record


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