Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Parent Guide
A hilariously funny space comedy suitable for older kids, teens, and their parents.
Parent Movie Review
When Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and crew took off to rescue Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, they did so at the cost of their careers with Starfleet. After a brief respite on Vulcan, they are now ready to come home and face court martial for their actions. Before they can get there, though, they receive a distress signal: Earth is being bombarded with strange signals from a massive alien probe, and the signals are causing cataclysmic climactic upheaval. Unless Kirk can find a way to answer the probe, Earth will be destroyed in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, the answer lies in the 20th century. Can the crew travel through time quickly enough to save Earth?
One of the things to look at with this movie is its stated genre: it’s a sci-fi action comedy. Heavy on the comedy. Unlike Search for Spock, which was unintentionally hilarious, The Voyage Home manages to be funny on purpose. Particularly amusing are the interactions between Kirk and Spock, as Spock begins to regain his memory and Kirk tries to make him fit in with the human culture of 1986. Another highlight is Chekov (Russian accent and all) trying to get directions to US Naval bases as newspapers show arms limitation talks struggling. Is it the height of intellectual comedy? No, but it works for what it is.
The plot is also noticeably sillier than other entries in the franchise. Going from the pure revenge of Wrath of Khan to the death of a close friend in Search for Spock, time-travel to kidnap whales really does stand out. Again, though, it works for what it’s trying to be. The Voyage Home is a welcome reprieve from the more serious plot lines that precede it. The break in tension serves the longer arc of these films well, while still showing the peril faced by the characters and the consequences of their choices.
As far as production value goes, the movie continues to improve on previous entries. The jokingly-named HMS Bounty set has been built up a good bit from the version in Search For Spock. Special effects are similar in terms of ship movements and the like, although for 1986, the time-travel sequence is pretty darn impressive.
Like the rest of the franchise, this movie is eminently suitable for family viewing, particularly with older children. The film is simple and well-paced, with plenty of comedy and action to engage the attention of younger viewers. Strong messages of teamwork and doing the right thing (no matter how difficult) further cement this as solid family entertainment.Directed by Leonard Nimoy. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley.. Running time: 119 minutes. Theatrical release November 26, 1986. Updated August 15, 2019
Watch the trailer for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Rating & Content Info
Why is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home rated PG? Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: An individual is rendered unconscious by the famous “Vulcan nerve pinch”. Several clips are shown of whales being hunted and butchered. An individual falls onto a hard surface, causing dangerous head injury.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: Frequent use of mild profanity and occasional use of terms of deity throughout.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Two characters are shown drinking a beer with dinner.
Page last updated August 15, 2019
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Parents' Guide
The crew of the Enterprise accepts a lot of risk in time-travelling back to save the whales, but they wouldn’t have needed to go to the trouble if humans in our time would take care of them. How many species are on the endangered species list today? How many were on in 1986 (when the film released)? Are any of them indigenous to your home country? What can you do help protect endangered species in your area?
Related home video titles:
For films about the looming extinction of some of earth’s animal life, you can begin with the documentary Sharkwater Extinction. Mia and the White Lion tells a fictional story that highlights the dangers hunting poses to African lions. If you’re feeling discouraged about the fate of the earth, watch The Biggest Little Farm. This documentary shows what people can do to help heal the planet, one patch of land at a time.