Greg Cox wrote:
but what I got from the new movie was that the issue was revealing themselves to the natives, not saving them from the volcano.
I got the impression that it was both. Pike says something along the lines of "playing God" and "not changing a planet's destiny."
Correct. Pike stated he would never put his first officer in that situation in the first place, which gave me the impression it was Kirk's idea to graduate the mission from survey to rescue. Given how it played out in Pike's office, it renders Spock's objection all the more baffling on the transporter pad. Whatever the details may be, there's little doubt - within the context of this movie - that the whole mission was a violation of the prime directive.
Granted, it's well within Kirk's profile to do this sort of thing. However, his total nonchalance and juvenile choice of words irked me more than anything. Big deal? Well, given their reaction afterwards (deifying the Enterprise - you're not going to worship a scroll after that are you?) yes... big deal.