I went to see the movie a few days ago, I had been debating with myself whether I was going to take the plunge and go and see it because I have not been optimistic since first details came out all the way thorough to seeing the trailers. I figured that I might as well go see it with my youngest brother since he wanted to see it anyway. I decided not to post an opinion until I had gathered my thoughts together properly.
I think the best way for me to judge the film is to focus solely on three things; the story, the characters and the acting. Special effects, amongst other things don't necessarily make a good movie or a bad movie, they simply serve to illustrate the story in my view. So with that criteria I will now get to what I thought of the movie.
First the story; to break it down it is essentially a revenge story about a man who intends to carry out the destruction of worlds belonging to people (particularly Spock) who he blames for destroying his own world. Sounds pretty reasonable to me, however the circumstances surrounding this motivation are somewhat flimsy. Romulus is facing destruction because the systems sun is about to go nova, and future Spock tries but fails to prevent the disaster. Yet despite Spock trying to help his people, Nero is driven to revenge. This motivation doesn't make sense to me at all; with or without Spock or the federations help, the Romulans would have and should have evacuated the home world in any event, the empire isn't restricted to its own system after all. Why that never happened wasn't answered in the film. Another answer that I didn't get was why didn't Spock use the time travel to go backwards to before the nova happened and warn the Romulans that his actions had failed.
I couldn't empathise or feel anything emotionally towards Nero, he was just one-dimensional. At least with Khan, while he became a megalomaniac I could empathise with the sheer anger he felt after being left on a planet that became uninhabitable claiming the lives of some of his people as well as his wife. I felt something for him despite him going on the rampage.
Next the characters and acting; to me the overall impression I got was that most of the characters were incredibly dumbed down or non-existent. I couldn't warm to any of them except for Spock.
For me Kirk's character is the most assassinated, I found him to be an obnoxious shithouse throughout whole the film. Particularly during the Kobayashi-Maru scenes, he sat there and didn't give a shit that he was cheating, it was all a joke to him. He wasn't making a point (even though he claims he was) he just wanted to have a big laugh and a joke. Kirk in this film was rebellious, but unlike the true Kirk from the original series he wasn't a rebel with any moral convictions or principals, he was rebellious just... because.
McCoy, despite the good impersonation of Deforrest's interpretation of the character by Karl urban, he never really had much to do, which was a bit of a shame since it was the Kirk-Spock-McCoy relationship that was key to the previous films and series, his part should have been more prominent.
Spock was the only main character I liked for the most part. I thought the conflict between his Human and Vulcan sides was handled very well indeed and nicely acted by the guy who played him. He had gravitas and screen presence, he was very convincing to me.
The rest of the main cast were unmemorable impersonations of the proper characters from the original series. Scotty was too lightweight, Sulu too clichéd, and Chekhov too irritating. The only exception was Uhura who I felt was slightly more than a simple dolled up phone operator.
So after looking at all that it is time for me to write about some of the other aspects of the film.
In a nutshell, this film IS a reboot, of that I am 100% certain, had they just come out and said it in the first place, it would have saved a tenner or so of cash.
The problem I had with it is that even without this time travelling bullshit concocted story there is no way the film would have been consistent with continuity. The ship was wrong inside and out and that is just for a starter. It is one thing to disregard character traits, ship design and established events and story lines that defined continuity throughout the 4 series and 10 previous films. It is another thing to ignore some of the core principals of what makes Trek, Trek.
The biggest indication of it is when I saw and heard the blatant product placement. *Sigh.
* The whole point of there being a federation and starfleet in our future is that humanity (and like-minded alien members) has put aside its pettiness and become more enlightened (not perfect people but certainly better than we are now) as a species. Having these examples of capitalism in the 23rd century points to the fact that in Abrams' Trek universe, greed is still alive and kicking.
It goes against everything that trek was about. As does the action bias in the movie. Some of it was completely unnecessary and smacks of something from a Star Wars movie than from a Trek movie.
I don't really like to talk much about the special effects, as it has no bearing on the quality of the movie, but for sure I liked some of the aspects of the VFX. In particular I liked that the ships moved like an object with a huge mass would in space. I also liked the warp effect, not so much when the ship enters it, but exits it, the animators made a good job of making the effect look convincing. Same with the transporter effects, I quite liked them. The use of different colours of the phaser beams made it easy to see if the stun or kill setting was used which was a small touch I liked. I also liked the shuttles, not the design but the way they they were used as a multi-purpose craft instead of a glorified taxi.
So in conclusion, this film was quite clearly aimed at a mainstream teenage audience judging from the dialogue alone, let alone the bloody awful rock music, a music genre I despise. The quick pacing and action bias is is indicative of Paramount's focus towards entertaining the fickle general movie audience, who once the initial novelty factor wears off (maybe after one or two movies later) will move onto something else. There was nothing for my mind to chew on, nothing I could really get emotional about. Just a lot of WTF moments, nausea from the terrible cinematography (if you can call it that), a badly written nonsensical story blended into two hours of noise. Had it not been for the loose association with Trek, this film would have been rightly condemned by critics as another style over substance sci-fi shoot-em-up.
I have debated the final grade for two days and my final decision is Poor.