Trek4Kids: How Star Trek Has Been Received by Kids

It has been a little while since the last Trek4Kids article, but I have been busy over the summer asking kids in my class at school and in my summer program about what they thought of the new Star Trek movie. So has the new Star Trek made a difference with the youth of today? Find out below.

 

Do kids like the new Star Trek?
To find out how the movie was doing with my friends, I first asked if they had heard of Star Trek before the release of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie. I then asked if they saw the movie and and how they would rate it on a scale of 1-10. The most important question I asked them was if, after seeing the new Star Trek, would they want to see more. I was surprised to hear that most of the kids really liked the movie. This was a surprise because before the movie came out, when I talked about Star Trek, everyone would say that I was a geek or a nerd. But after the new movie came out, when I asked my friends about it, everyone started quoting sections such as the scene when Kirk and the Romulan first officer were fighting and Kirk said, “I’ve got your gun.” Most everyone
thought it was the BEST SCENE EVER!!!


Kirk got his gun

About a week after the movie came out I surveyed four of my friends (all boys aged 11-12, three of whom I had previously surveyed about the marketing of the new movie see previous article). Three of them had seen the film (with the fourth wanting to go see it), and when I asked what parts of the movie they liked or didn’t like, I liked their answers. They said that the action sequences were the best parts of the movie. Almost everybody said that they liked how Star Trek (2009) had a different version of the characters, such as Kirk never joined Starfleet until later because of his father. They also liked the humor scenes such as after the fight Kirk had in the bar when Kirk told Pike “You can whistle really loud you know that?” Two of the boys who had seen the film rated it 9 out of 10 and one of them liked it so much that he
gave it an 11.9 out of 10! It really felt great that my friends liked it, because before they teased me about my interest in Star Trek. It was nice to be able to talk with my friends about something I like without having to worry about being made fun of for it.


Kids liked the action

After I started summer camp, I surveyed a different group of kids. By this time, the movie had been out for almost two months and there were seven boys and one girl (ages 10-13) who participated in my survey. The seven boys had seen the new movie and the girl had not yet seen it. Only three of the boys had heard of Star Trek and previously seen it before going to the new movie. Compared to Star Trek (2009), the three boys thought that the original Star Trek was two-dimensional because they could always guess what would happen. For example, they know that if Kirk gets into a fight, he will always win. Of this group of eight, six of the boys would be interested in seeing more Star Trek movies and episodes, but one of the boys and the girl were not interested in seeing more Star Trek. All in all, the new Star Trek movie seems to have really had an impact on kids my age.


And kids liked that Kirk didn’t win every fight

To wrap up the article, I wanted to talk about the promotions of the Star Trek film, especially the Burger King glasses and toys. I am not sure how many of my friends knew about the movie because of the promotions, but I think they reminded people about the movie. My little brothers, ages 3 and 5, thought that the shuttlecraft, the Jellyfish, and the communicator kids meal toys were awesome. They were playing with them for three days straight. I thought that the toys were helpful to the movie, but I did not like how the characters’ heads were so large compared to their bodies. When we went to buy the kids meals, we also got a set of the glasses, which were awesome. I like the design. It is especially cool that you can look through the delta shield insignia and see the image on the other side of the glass. I also like how the frosted section of the glass has the Star Trek logo and blueprints of different ships such as the Enterprise, the Kelvin, the
Jellyfish, and the Narada.



Some kids liked the toys, but I preferred the glasses

The cool kids like it
Overall, I think that the movie has been very successful with my age group. When I was taking my survey, two people who had been very rude to me in the past (because I liked Star Trek), came up to me and said that they had seen the new Star Trek movie and they wanted to tell me how cool they thought it was. Then they apologized and left. At that moment I had this feeling: I thought that if the “cool kids” who hated the franchise started loving it through the new movie, then there are going to be a lot more fans of Star Trek. Since Star Trek (2009) has made over $380 million worldwide so far, I can gladly say that the Star Trek franchise has gained a new fan base! I am thrilled and honored to have attended the Hollywood premiere of the most successful Star Trek movie of all time and the movie that has given Star Trek new life!

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Cobalt 1365
August 5, 2009 12:31 am

Interesting how much opinions can change, and how people have a tendency to mock what they don’t understand. Great article and excellent insights

SolFlyer
August 5, 2009 12:42 am

The best moment of the new Trek for me was the 2nd time I saw it (at the big THX theater). While we were waiting in line for munchies there were 2 kids, probably about 10 years old, that absolutely COULD NOT WAIT to get in the theater. Mom had to keep telling them to be patient while she got their food. They were, quite literally, jumping up and down with excitement.

While not old enough to have seen the original airings, I grew up on Trek, watching reruns on Saturday afternoon in the late 70s. Now days, many of my friends are hard core Trek geeks, those that attend conventions(and movie openings) in full costume, and I have NEVER seen anyone as excited about Trek as those 2 kids. The furture of Trek is here and the nest generation of Trekers is, obviously, ready for more!

Paulaner
August 5, 2009 12:43 am

Great article. Nice to see how points of view can change.

Falo: "El Champeón"
August 5, 2009 1:18 am
This article couldn’t be any more of a waste of time. Kids these days are never ging to give a crap about something like Star Trek. They’re too busy acting cool by watching mindless junk like transformers revenge of the fallen. Why the hell would K/O co-write such a terrible film eludes me. So according to this article the new film had an impact on young audiences just because this kid talked to something like twelve other kids about it. That’s supposed to be an accurate representation of kids all across the country? The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The trek toys keep warming the pegs at every toy store because kids don’t care about Star Trek and parents don’t make an effort to introduce them to quality programming like Star Trek. All the tracking on the film showed it was mostly people over 30 that turned out. It doesn’t matter if Star Trek finds a young audience or not, what matters is that the film sold 380 million dollars worth of tickets. Who cares if it gained a new audience or not. Lets not forget the importance of the loyal older fans who’ve sticked with the franchise through thick and thin. Wanting to make a movie to please kids these days is a disservice to the franchise. It feels like trekmovie wants to have multiple articles posted everyday so badly that they will post any pointless write up they can find in order to make their quota.… Read more »
Vulcan Soul
August 5, 2009 1:34 am

Abrams Trek is indeed great for kids, and we are so very pleased Trek is cool with the masses again and we can feel cool ourselves now. We all love to teach our kids a little genocide, so they grow accustomed to our deeply idealistic world more quickly.

More mindless genocide in movies, I say!

Darrell Kaiser
August 5, 2009 1:53 am

Ehh… kids are really fickle. They’ll think one thing is neat and love it and then find something else. Star Trek could be just considered to be a flavor of the month. Let’s wait and see how they like that sequel.

Bill Peters
August 5, 2009 2:15 am

Funny that Trek fans don’t care for the New Kids but the New kids are what will keep trek Alive!

Anthony Thompson
August 5, 2009 2:18 am

Thanks for the interesting article! Great news!

Anthony Thompson
August 5, 2009 2:23 am

5.

Genocide is a fact of life in the real world. Should kids be sheltered from that fact and only presented with rose-colored views of human nature?

August 5, 2009 2:30 am

Thanks for the cool article, James!

I have to agree on the quality of the Burger King glasses; they were really well done, some of the best tie-in glasses ever, and if I was a kid I’d want two sets :) As it is, the glasses that rocked my kid-world were Empire Strikes Back glasses, but I’m old, see.

#4: You must be so much fun at parties.

#6: Or if they even _remember_ it a year from now :)

#7: No evidence of that so far, but we’ll see.

August 5, 2009 2:32 am

#9: “Genocide is a fact of life in the real world. Should kids be sheltered from that fact and only presented with rose-colored views of human nature?”

Um, a bunch of entitled yuppies in unconvincing Star Trek uniforms showing up, committing genocide as a form of action-comedy, and sailing off to glory _is_ a rose-colored view, sport.

August 5, 2009 2:57 am

I find it more surprising that you were surprised at their positive reaction
than the fact they liked it.

Duane
August 5, 2009 4:27 am

I’m glad to hear this, and, prior to seeing the film, I would not have suspected that kids would like it.

I paid a friend to take five kids (all girls) to see the film. They loved it. I also took two 20 year old females to see the film. They liked it but were disappointed that Spock has a girlfriend. It seems they wanted him all to themselves!

greenappleman7
August 5, 2009 4:49 am

I totally agree! I’m around that guys age group too. People love Star Trek now. Quite a few people liked it before hand , but now it’s “cool” (at least for a bit). I expect the sequel will make huge blockbusting bucks.

Eking
August 5, 2009 4:59 am

I’m a life long fan (46 yrs old) I took my eight year old daughter to it and she loved it. She jumped at all the right times got scared at all the right times and was excited throughout the movie. My favorite part watchiing her was when the Enterprise came out of warp near Vulcan and the Enterprise nacele was scraped up. She got a great look on her face like “mom is going to kill me for messing up the ship!”

Brandon Thomas
August 5, 2009 5:04 am

Hmmm… I don’t know any 11/12 year old kid who would write, “all boys aged 11-12, three of whom I had previously surveyed about the marketing of the new movie.”

While I guess it’s cool that kids like Star Trek now, I do think it was kind of a lame premise for an article…

Captain Rickover
August 5, 2009 5:07 am

Star Trek 2009:
Main target: Kids
Status: Mission acomplished!

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 5:18 am

As long as the kids realise there is more to Star Trek than this one movie then that is cool, if the kids only watch this movie and the future movies then thay will be getting exposed to proper Star Trek.

At least I have two friends who started watching Star Trek after the new movie and now they love it

17 If the kids are only going to watch JJ Abrams version of Trek then it is a mission fail, I hope there will be more kids who want to watch the past 5 shows and movies to see and live in the universe which is Star Trek.

August 5, 2009 5:22 am

10 – Mr. Ross, I was about to give #4 a piece of my mind for his denigrating cooments on the article that the talented young James wrote, but you slammed him better than I could have dreamed.

James, don’t pay any attention to wet blankets like #4. You are a very gifted young man, and a very intelligent one to conduct research the way you do before you publish your findings.

I think you have a career ahead of you as a writer and a scholar if these activities continue to interest you.

I hope that you and your friends will continue to appreciate Trek and to take a closer look at TOS to see why the writing and the acting kept this series in the public eye, mind and heart for more than forty years.

Keep writing, young man.

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 5:23 am

it seems the only people that Abrams Trek is not for is the hard core fans

LOL

I liked the movie but it was far from the best Trek. I am sorry for NOT hailing it as the best Trek film, because it wasn’t. I liked it

I still believed the new Trek was dumbed down from its true potential. Guess its the nature of the beast, but films in genral are dumbed downb even more these days.

hope these kids get to see proper Star Trek

August 5, 2009 5:24 am

Er… Comments, not cooments.

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 5:24 am

Try and be less angry to people who do not like the film.

I happen to like TWOK, TUC and FC a lot more than this film.

James Cannon
August 5, 2009 5:33 am

Having been a Trekkie for nearly 25 years, Its amazing how many people who said I was a geek, a nerd, a weirdo, for liking Star Trek are now coming out of the woodwork saying: hey that film is cool.

I was a bit annoyed though when a young girl (19) who works in our office said she went to see it. I said I didnt know you liked Star Trek?
“Oh yeah… that Chris Pine is sooooooooo cute”….

Great… Oh well… at least she saw it! :-)

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 5:39 am

23

you know waht also annoys me?

When people say that the new actors are better than the originals. The originals are better but also these actors are playing diff versions of the characters we know so there should be no comparison.

A lot of mainstream audiences are only watching the movie because it has sylar from heroes. Not many of them have any love for what Star Trek is.

I love the stories of how it is opening the eyes of newbies into the Star Trek shows we all love.

August 5, 2009 5:40 am

A dumbed down, depraved, violent, self-righteous, inconsistent film whose advocates openly value popularity and profits more than virtue or inspiration.

Detailed examples and analysis posted at Star Trek by the Minute: http://is.gd/23DO5

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 5:55 am

you should have factored has it opened their eyes to watch the rest of Trek

JimJ
August 5, 2009 5:56 am

#4-Try decaf, it works great…and you seem the type that needs a little boost. Or perhaps a wee bit of scotch?

I love when how a kid tries to communicate with the rest of us, SOME adults are condescending and “thank them” in such a way that they’ll probably never try it again PLUS will have a poor point of view about adults in general.

Then, while you’re at it, you may as well rip the best damned Star Trek site ever created on the internet and those who created it/run it! GADS!!!!

AP-sorry, I heard your podcast about how sometimes the threads that complain about other people who post are even more annoying, but give me a break. As a teacher, I resent people that treat kids this way, especially when today’s youth needs more encouragement than ever.

August 5, 2009 6:10 am

@BurntSynapse

Excellent and detailed review of the new movie, and hard to argue against.

I suspect that a similar detailed analysis aimed at any other Trek installment would produce a similarly scathing conclusion, however…

Imagine scrutinising “The Voyage Home” for instance! Cringe!

JimJ
August 5, 2009 6:19 am

#25-You have WAYYYYYY too much time on your hands. “I dare you to do better…enlist in Starfleet.”

mayday
August 5, 2009 6:22 am

Don’t forget the young girls! My 8 and 10 year old girls really related to Uhura. The 10 year old wants to be her for Halloween so that is great praise. I think they also were excited because mom is such a big fan. I asked them who they thought the “hero” was. My 8 year old said Dr. McCoy since he sneaked Kirk on board and if Kirk wasn’t there then Nero wouldn’t have been defeated. They were definitely able to follow the story and it brought up interesting conversations about what genocide is and how important it is to be well educated. They saw Starfleet Academy as college which was pretty cool. It was their first PG13 film so the fight scene on the Narada at the end was a bit intense for them. They set the table every night with the Burger King glasses.

Athlan
August 5, 2009 6:25 am

From this article it is quite clear, by which criteria a good movie is being evaluated by the younger audience these days.

My mother was about 12 years old when she got in touch with Star Trek the first time. She loved the characters, the stories and the optimistic outlook of the show. Special effects, and “tall-talking”-guys where not needed, or at least non essential to it.

In my opinion, those kids are overfed with “cool films”, so they fail to recognize the true message or essence of a good franchise or film.

Hat Rick
August 5, 2009 6:32 am

What a great article!

James, please don’t be discouraged by negative reactions here; every writer, even the greatest ones, receive criticism, and sometimes very harsh criticism.

I could not DISAGREE MORE that this article was as waste of time! It was a well-written piece and, James, you have a future as a writer.

Also, it’s great to know that kids today love Trek!

I loved your description of that humor scene where Kirk says, “Got yer gun….” That was one of my favorite scenes, too!

Thank you for the article, and please keep up the good work!

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 6:37 am

30- but will they like TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT

I hope so

Mike Ten
August 5, 2009 6:37 am

#5, Star Wars had the Death Star blowing up planets and killing possibly billions of people and that was considered a children friendly movie back in 1977.

#11 it wasn’t yuppies in startrek uniforms that blew up Vulcan and committed genocide, it was Nero the Romulan and crew.

SolFlyer
August 5, 2009 7:00 am

To all of those who say the kids aren’t recognizing the “true value” of Trek, please consider yourself at that age(assuming you can).

When I was that age, watching the original for the first time, I couldn’t care less about the message. I didn’t run through the yard trying to save the world from some ideological threat. It was all about the cool laser guns and teleporters and scary alien monsters. And I had a LOT of fun doing that.

Let them enjoy Trek any way they want to. They will start seeing it for what it “truly” is only if they are watching it to start with.

oby
August 5, 2009 7:14 am

My 8-year-old loved it. Saw it twice.

Paul B.
August 5, 2009 7:16 am
Excellent article! It’s great to hear a youngster’s thoughts and research about Trek, especially in such a well-written article. Ignore the haters, James! Speaking of the haters…. At the risk of getting in trouble with Anthony, I’m going to say that the poster of #4, “Falo: “El Champeón”, is a jackass. (Sorry, Anthony! I usually play nice, but he has it coming to him!) Falo, your comment just spouts your hateful comments. Fine, you don’t care if kids like the movie; well, then why the hell did you read and comment on an article about kids liking the movie? THAT is a waste of time. And since there are many days when Trekmovie doesn’t post any new articles at all, your complaint about posting “any old write up” is meaningless. Complaining about “kids these days” is stupid, especially here. Kids are the same as they’ve always been; most of them react to the loud, flashy action more than the deep philosophical stuff. (Not that this film had anything really deep.) In fact, that is true of most fans; I’ve heard more discussions of why the Enterprise bridge is different in each film than about the deeper ramifications of a 7-year mating cycle for Vulcans…more discussions about the accuracy of someone’s uniform piping than about the seeming contradiction of a highly militaristic Starfleet and an “age of aquarius” idea of humanity… And for Trek, that superficial love of the action and the hardware often leads to a love of the deeper… Read more »
August 5, 2009 7:20 am

Falo#4. That is uncalled for

skip articles not interested in don’t turn it into flame.

I think some have forgotten what being a kid was like. Most trekkies became fans at an early age. ThAt is one reason for this periodic column

Alisa
August 5, 2009 7:23 am
I am a HARD CORE TREK FAN, and I grew up with the original. I prefer the original to NextGen and that generation of Trek Shows. I know why Gene Roddenberry did that and that was to bring the show more in line with his vision and bring it up to date. Even so the original will always carry favor for me. Now as the the new movie IT ROCKED! As a HARD CORE TREKKIE if I SAW IT ROCKED IT DID. The franchise needed up to date and changing the timeline was a brilliant idea. The timeline was changed just enough to where all the experiences that happened with the crew perhaps would turn out differently. Pike for instance, did not get a devastating injury where Spock would have to “take his old captain to a forbidden planet to save his life.” Pike is alive and even well, and we may see more of him in future stories. And for those who don’t know the reference that I just made, BUY the DVDs of the Original Show and watch The Managorie. The original show was very well written and had a hopeful message. My hope is to see this show RETURN to the SMALL screen where it also belongs, along with that HOPEFUL message of the future. It’s what inspired people to create the gadgets that we are now taking for grante today, like our laptops and our cell phones. Let’s remember, when the orignal sow was out (the… Read more »
captain_neill
August 5, 2009 7:23 am

35

they will obviously understand its value as they get older

I just hope that they watch the rest of Trek instead of just this movie only.

I first got into Star Trek watching TWOK on TV when I was 6, my mum allowed me to stay late to watch it. I was in tears when Spock died and mum told me that he comes back in the third one and inmediately wanted to rent it out then followed by 4, at this time TNG was starting on BBC2 in the UK and then TOS was being repeated a few years later. I was hooked and have loved it ever since.

Stayed with it till the end of Enterprise. I have seen the new movie 5 times, it is dumbed down and not my favourite Trek. I do not like a lot of the changes JJ Abrams made but I still enjoyed it as a movie and it is the best film this summer. But it aint the best Trek movie.

I just hope they don’t go in the khan remake direction as it would belittle the future of Trek to remakes. Well no matter what direction it goes in I will always have the Star Trek I loved growing up and it will always be there.

SerenityActual
August 5, 2009 7:26 am

I would like to thank the author of this article for the work they put into it, and the courage it took to put it out and take the shots from people who should know better.

Whether or not you agree with what was written, realize this was written by one who is part of the next generation of Trek fans and at least be supportive of their contribution.

The original generation of fans is beginning to start that slide down and we need to be supportive of those who follow, I’m not saying support the film if you do not like it, but be supportive of those younger fans who will be following us.

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 7:27 am

I can accept the new maovie is an alternate timeline, it is a nice way to get round canon incosistencies. But remember it is saif to be a parallel timeline that runs parallel to our universe, it does not erase it. Our universe is still there.

Also There is NO WAY in hell I am having JJ Abrams tell me that the last 40 years of Trek is now the equivalent of that dream sequence in Dallas.

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 7:28 am

getting younger fans I am all for

I just hope that they will watch the other Treks and not just stick to this movie

Know what I mean?

star trackie
August 5, 2009 7:30 am

#4 “This article couldn’t be any more of a waste of time. Kids these days are never ging to give a crap about something like Star Trek. ”

Better grab a broom and get outside, I think them no good kids are playing on your lawn!

Athlan
August 5, 2009 7:38 am

@ 35

Maybe you are right. I am just a little concerned that through all this “coolness” the new audience might forget Roddenberrys vision behind Trek, thats all. I did not intend to tell anyone how to love it.

In my opinion however, Trek should be considered cool because of this value in the first place. But perhaps you are right, since I started simply watching it too – with my mother as the “teacher” in the back ;)

I am glad that a new audience is being attracted and I look forward to a new, loyal fanbase!

Athlan
August 5, 2009 7:44 am

@ 39: fully agreed :D

captain_neill
August 5, 2009 7:46 am

Trek is cool

always has been in my eyes

I am just eager to see more kids get into the rest of Trek, there is so much more to Trek than this ONE movie

Shadowcat
August 5, 2009 7:47 am

What an excellent article. It is nice to see the perspective of a young person and their reactions to the movie. I have heard the same positive reviews from my nieces and nephews.

I took my nieces and nephews ages 7-13 to see Star Trek and they loved it. My oldest nephew saw it again in IMAX with some of his male and female friends from school. He actually sent my husband and I a text stating how much he and his friends liked it. He is a big fan of Hereos and likes Zachary Quinto. He is mad about cars and recognized Simon Pegg from an episode of Top Gear (it is shown on BBC America in the US). The younger kids thought it was cool and most of their friends had seen it too. Their parents are fans and they have seen a few of the TOS and TNG episodes but they admitted they didn’t really know much about Star Trek. I became a Star Trek fan at age nine and my husband at age tweleve so it is not surprising that today’s kids would enjoy Star Trek. My husband and I own all of the episodes and TOS and TNG and we plan to gradually introduce them to our nieces abd nephews when they come for visits.

Paul B.
August 5, 2009 8:01 am

@42,43 – Captain Neill, Abrams hasn’t said that the last 40 years of Trek are a Dallas dream sequence. In fact, your post says as much by pointing out that it is a PARALLEL universe. (Though it doesn’t run parallel to “our” universe; it runs parallel to the Prime Trek universe. A fictional universe, unlike ours–as far as we know.)

As for younger fans watching the older stuff, we’ve already seen that happen. Lots of fans got into Trek from the movies, TNG, or other shows, and then went back to watch the earlier stuff. Some liked it, some didn’t.

And if you take a few minutes to go watch some YouTube reviews of the new Trek, you’ll find plenty of new fans who are interested in the older stuff. One reviewer, a guy in his late teens or early twenties, starts his review by saying, “That was a good movie. You know what, you can tell when a movie’s really good when it makes you want to go back and watch the original stuff.”

He goes on to say that he’s going to get the first season on blu-ray, after admitting to knowing nothing about Star Trek.

So, no worries; just like always, some new fans will embrace the original, some won’t. But the film has inspired many new fans to go back to the originals.

AJ
August 5, 2009 8:10 am

As a parent who has tried to get his kids (7 and 9) into Star Trek since they were born, I was gratified that JJ made a film which caters to today’s shorter attention spans, but also truly reflects the spirit and characters of TOS.

As a Trekker dad who was unsure if the film, or if the last years of ‘indoctrination’ had had any impact at all on my kiddies, the most gratifying moment for me was when my 9-year old daughter, witnessing the Uhura/Spock kiss in the lift, said “daddy, that’s stupid.” Old school! She gets it!

Indeed, for many of us, Star Trek is all about growing up in front of TOS, or any of the newer shows, and the bittersweet irony of how something so great can go through cycles of insane popularity followed by silent downtime. Our kids have so many ‘franchises’ thrown at them that ‘Star Trek’ will eventually get lost in the shuffle unless the spirit is kept new and alive. JJ has made a brilliant first step.

Great article, James, by the way. Come back when the DVD is out, and let’s see what your classmates think then.

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