It took me some time to form an opinion of this movie. It’s difficult to form a complete opinion about this movie because there are two ways to look at it. As a stand-alone sci-fi movie it was pretty good. As a Star Trek movie, it did not fare well.
Beyond this point maybe some spoilers, consider that the warning. Star Trek has bent its own rules for time travel over the years so this movie was no exception. I was happy with the angle of the villain. Often the villain in sci-fi movies is just some war-like barbarian who is bent on taking over the world. This villain had a legit beef with Spock, which is also how the movie ties into the old movies/series.
Spock (by some miscalculation) caused Romulus to be destroyed in the future of the timeline that we are all familiar with. As a result, Nero (the villain) gets hurled into a worm hole and ends up back in time, back to the day James Kirk was born. He ends up destroying the ship that Kirk’s father is piloting. This completely alters his life and as a result, many other events. Nero’s plot is to wait for Spock to show up and destroy Vulcan right before Spock’s very eyes as an eye for an eye-type punishment. Spock also is hurled back into time. Now old Spock, who retains all of the memories of the events we all remember, exists in this alternate timeline, where things are wildly different.
The movie just didn’t feel like a Star Trek movie. It was nice to see the upgrades to the visuals. We haven’t seen the Enterprise since the third movie, The Search for Spock. I feel like the presentation of the ship was a little more futuristic, by a little, I mean a lot. The way the movie was shot though, it just seemed way too serious. Star Trek always had a fun feeling. This movie had some fun elements, but I felt like it was more like one of the Star Wars prequels, except of course, Star Trek was 1000 times better than those. Still, the first half of the movie seems to drag on for a long time. I get it, a new generation is getting exposed to these characters for the first time, but there isn’t enough time in the day, and Kirk’s rise to being the captain is done very poorly. He practically falls into it by accident.
As a sci fi movie, it was still pretty good. It’s just hard to separate it from the rest of the series, especially when they find a way to tie it back to the originals. I was pretty pissed at the product placement for Nokia at the beginning. Seriously, Star Trek isn’t supposed to have product placement. You never saw Luke Skywalker chugging a Pepsi. JJ Abrams couldn’t resist throwing in some Easter eggs about Cloverfield, I guess that was okay. Unfortunately, the movie is a juggernaut for these reasons: if you’re a fan, you’re going to want to see it anyway. If you aren’t a fan, you will want to at least try this version of the story. It’s definitely better than most of the garbage competition out there today.
On a personal note, watching this movie made me realize just how much I know about the Star Trek universe. I felt very elite. I actually had beef with the scene where they made mention to “external inertial dampers.” The ship didn’t go into warp because the external inertial dampers were activate. Any Star Trek geek can protest this. I won’t bother though. My verdict, see the movie. I would watch it again, but wouldn’t pay to see it in the movies nor would I buy the DVD.