Though I don't consider myself a Trekker I do have a love for the ST universe at least TV shows and movies. I grew up with them and will always have a place in my heart for it though I never got into the books...the countless thousands that are probably out there.
FIrst off I can tell you it isn't Star Wars. A lot of debate about that whole thing I think was brought on by the snow monster preview but trust me its not.
Be aware there are SPOILERS thoughout this review.
Best place to start is the story...how do you reboot a franchise that is deep in lore and cannon? How else but Time Travel....now this is a personal thing with me but I'm really sick and tired of the time travel stories that seem to be poping up in every freaking Sci-Fi show...it's been done to death and I'm (that me not rest of you) just plain sick of it. I think it's a sloppy way for a lot of writers to dig themself out of the deep hole they dig. The thing with Star Trek is that time travel has always been a common theme in the show explored even back in the 60's show. This was the only way to reboot ST and still try to keep some of the regular fans on board in my opinion.
Nero the Romulan is from the future hunting down future Spock because he holds him responsible for the destruction of Romulan home world. Spock was supposed to save the planet but was late so now Nero wants revenge on him. I thought this was a bit of a stretch because a super nova destroyed Romulus and Spock didn't have any control over that so why all the hate man? I can buy he was just so angry he wanted to take it out on someone but Nero arrives in the past because of this whole time travel thing that brings him back in time 129 years early which is 25 years before future Spock will show up (I know, I know my head hurts too with all this time travel stuff)....so Nero apparently was just hanging around 25 years just hiding out waiting for Spock to show up? I don't know about you but if I ended up 130 years in the past I could probably keep myself occupied if I had the most bad ass weapon in the Galaxy at my beck and call.
I like some of the little things...when Nero's ship shows up from the future it lands right on top of the U.S.S Kelvin where Nero's ships starts beating the crap out of it leaving a one George Kirk in charge,after the Captain is dead, to get everyone off the Kelvin including his preggers Wife. See, now I have no idea how Jim Kirk was born in ST lore so I thought this was kinda of cool that he popped out as the shuttle craft he was on was shooting like a bat out of hell from a Starship in battle. To me that is a way I could see James T. being born. Soon after Father George dies in the fight but not before they agree on a name for their little bundle of Joy.
On over to Vulcan where we see a little Spock being picked on by kids because he's half human and handling quite well until they call his Mom a whore and he ends up losing it. Ahhh...little Spock dealing with personality issues just like we remember...another thing I liked.
So far so good, we are staying on course. Kirk is still an Iowa boy where apparently we are eventually going to build Starships. Having grew up in Iowa I can attest that we do have a lot of space though I don't remember it looking like California but to the casual observer they won't even notice that.
We are introduced to Chris Pine as Kirk...he tried hard but I will always have a problem with that casting job. He got some of the mannerisms down but he wasn't consistent with it and lets face it, he is no Shatner. Unlike Bond which was a character in a novel before he was on the big screen, they have the freedom to cast a new Bond every 4 movies. Shatner is Kirk and Kirk is Shatner as I think Nicholas Meyer once said. That was difficult for me to take in for the whole movie. Pine did good for what he had to do and maybe in the next movie I will be used to him.
Special perk goes to Urban and Sylar (sorry, couldn't resist). Urban did his homework. He wasn't just handed the role and flew by the seat of his pants. This man studied DeForest Kelly and I think that's a nod to Deforest for the wonderful job he did. I thought he nailed the character. Zach as Spock...he looks like him but doesn't sound like him but I can get used to the new voice.
Minor roles, Zoe as Uhura is hot but I thought Nichelle was hot in her younger days too. Sulu and Checkov, good and small enough roles they don't hurt it at all. Scotty was a scene stealer.
I liked were the kobayashi maru test. I was always curious how Kirk beat it and it was done well and how McCoy got the nickname "Bones" was funny.
I didn't like the design of the Enterprise Bridge. I thought I read somewhere someone called it an Applebee's? I wouldn't go that far but it didn't feel like a Bridge of a Starship to me. Say what you will but even when they moved the TV show to the big screen they kept the basic layout of the Brdige intact. That's what I got used to, that's what I liked. I never cared for the Next Gen bridges and I couldn't tell if it was a cafeteria or a Bridge in this model but I did like the Engine room because it looked like what an engine room would probably look like on a big frakking Starship.
The only other issue I had was James T. Kirk stowing away on a Starship then Captain Pike making him first officer when he left the Enterprise...but the real kick to the nuts is Kirk being promoted from Cadet to Captain and being given the Enterprise..WTF! Come on man, I know he just saved Earth but he was CADET!
The biggest surprise to me was Uhura and Spock getting busy with each other. Never saw that coming. Also, when Vulcan was destroyed I thought for sure they would have time traveled to save it in the end but they didn't.
When you look at the pros and cons the pros far outweigh it. I thought this was a very good movie but purist I think are going to have an issue with it. They did in fact change the entire Star Trek universe...the one scapecoat they had was that because Nero went back in time and was changing things due to a result of his actions that this was an "alternate" timeline leaving that window open for you purist who still want to believe the ST you grew up with is still alive and doing well in the "real" timeline if you want to call it that. I know, that might be a stretch on my part but I feel your pain, I really do but this is Star Trek now for good or evil its what we are going to see sequels of from now on.