And of course the point of this was that it was a TNG movie, not a TOS movie. It wasn't supposed to be centered on Kirk. It was passing the torch to the TNG cast, selling movie audiences on the new team and just using Kirk to ease the transition. He was there to be a special guest, not the center of the story.
And I still would have preferred he not be there at all especially since I would think almost a decade on the air and being a popular show would mean that they wouldn't need yet another torch passing to somehow justify TNG's existence.