I remember the full year preceding TUC as one that seemed to indicate a lot of confusion or misdirection, a la TWOK's Spock controversy.)
Meyer's odd summation of TUC (which I think comes from before the film got greenlit) as a little story about Spock in love has always seemed like serious misdirection IMO.
I had a very bad phone interview with him (which in retrospect seems to have taken place the day after the film was greenlit, apparently through a veil of tears over everything being sacrificed to get the film made, though I didn't work that out for more than a decade) during which he was terse and unforthcoming, and he only addressed the story in saying the few word pitch he worked from did not relate to wrapping the TOS features up.
Given how every second sentence was how he could not afford to do this or that (couldn't afford Horner, couldn't afford to build sets or revise existing ones), I took his comment about handling things in a more theatrical fashion to mean he was shooting limbo sets a la THE EMPATH, but obviously that was not the case; he must have meant more cinematic/theatrical fashion given the moments of spectacle they did cobble together.
After that early interview, which I got on my own via a really good letter without going through any PR folk, I spent the better part of a year not getting any interviews at all for the article while waiting for Paramount PR to come through, and if not for associate producer Brooke Breton, who basically hooked me up with ILM and Matte World and all the makeup guys as well as the CimityArts graphics people, the CINEFEX article would not even have happened.
Folks I worked with at a software place told me that TUC had had some minor shooting with klingons taking place in Santa Cruz two months prior to release, but I've never found anything to confirm that at all.
The finished film really surprised me, in that I absolutely despised it for the way they handled Kirk and Spock, and for the extremely grainy Super35 photography, which in the theaters I caught it in, made scenes like the Kirk/McCoy bunkbed rure penthe scene look like it was being projected i a drive-in, it was just murk, nothing visible at all.
Seeing the thing on laserdisc and dvd was a real revelation, because it didn't look anything like this in the theater (same thing was true for GEN, though I wonder how much of that was just how all the Century theaters were using about a quarter of the necessary illumination in their projectors ... I had seen TFF at Palo Alto Square, a gorgeous therefore by now long-gone cinema that had a print which looked grand, so it is possible a lot of my bad memories of TUC/GEN have to do with where I saw them rather than how they were actually supposed to look.