I saw TFF on TV some years ago. When I did, I had already been on here for a while, so I was expecting to get most of my entertainment value from laughing at how cheesy it was. When it was over, I instead thought, "Wow, that really felt like the show." Don't get me wrong, I like some of the action-adventure movies like TWoK and TUC, but they feel like a different animal from the show. TMP and TFF have their faults, but they really do feel like true extensions of the original series, and not just popcorn movies with the same actors.
As for the special effects, the only thing I remember groaning at was Spock's rocket-boots/green-screen thing. I don't recall anything else really drawing my attention.
I like Luckinbill well enough, and I agree that Connery wouldn't have seemed right as a Vulcan. But if that would've made that studio more confident about the movie, hey, Connery in Trek may have been kind of interesting (of course, if it did happen, people would probably just be listing him as another reason the movie didn't work).