Yesterday, I saw Star Trek. I've been waiting for this movie ever since I heard it was being made. I had pretty high hopes for it and felt that the franchise needed redemption after the steaming pile of crap that was Nemesis (what an ignominious exit for the TNG crew). That being said, I was also a little cautious because although the morons responsible for Nemesis (Rick Berman and Brannon Braga) had no part in this, I was afraid that Abrams might dilute the "Trekkiness" of the franchise. Regardless, I was more than a little excited when I was finally able to get to see the movie. So here's my review. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read ahead because there will be spoilers.
I won't say that this is the best Star Trek movie of all time. It isn't. That honour falls to Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country. But what I will say is that it simply is a freaking awesome and satisfying movie. Even though the storyline isn't especially brilliant or deep, it is entertaining and a set up for things to come (i.e., sequels). What I especially liked about the movie was the fact that it catered to Star Trek fans without alienating non-Trekkies.
Regarding the characters, I have to say that I can't find much fault at all. The first time I saw Zachary Quinto made up as Spock, it looked right. He looked like a perfectly believable young Spock. I also like Quinto's portrayal of Spock. Though you do not see the gravity of Leonard Nimoy's delivery, it has to be realized that Quinto is playing a different Spock. The Spock we have seen is one who has reconciled and is at peace with his disparate Human and Vulcan identities. The Spock that Quinto portrays is a more conflicted individual. I was a little concerned about Chris Pine initially, but once I saw him act I realized I had nothing to worry about. Pine portrays Kirk well. Although it's not Shatner's Kirk, it is still Kirk. Pine's delivery is reminiscent of Shatner's without being over-the-top. At the same time, it is also fresh and cocky. When you see Pine, you know that he's Kirk. Eric Bana does a good job portraying Nero, the Romulan villain of the story. His performance was passionate and intense; he worked well with what he had been given. That being said, I felt that Nero's character wasn't menacing and compelling enough. The character definitely pales in comparison to Khan or General Chang, but like I mentioned, I don't think it's Bana's fault; it's just the way the character was written. Zoe Saldana did a pretty decent job portraying Uhura. Uhura has always been an intelligent and sexy woman (in no small part due to the gorgeous Nichelle Nichols) and Zoe Saldana was the perfect choice.
Special effects... awesome! I love space battles, and this movie did not disappoint! What I also really liked was the attention to detail with respect to the exteriors of the shuttles. In the movies and series, the shuttles always look pristine, and rarely have much damage. This is odd considering that they fly through the harsh environment of space. In the movie, they made sure that the exteriors of the shuttles looked a little beat-up, complete with dings and scratches. The bridge of the Enterprise was different, as were all the information consoles. I have no problems with that (I guess some hard-core purists will, but then they just need to get off their high horses and be willing to compromise) because the 60's design would be too dated.
Regarding canonicity, there may be fans who are disappointed. I know that I have issues with stories breaking or messing with well-established canon. But I didn't think that the movie was "breaking canon". A lot of people have said that Star Trek needed new blood - a re-imagining, if you will. This movie does exactly that. It does not ruin existing canon. What the writers did was imagine an alternate universe that is still recognizable, yet slightly different. The more I think about it, the more I like it, and it actually seems quite brilliant. The franchise was growing tired and no one at Paramount seemed to have a good idea for a new direction for the series. A reboot would have been far too drastic, so I think the authors came up with a much better solution. A "warm" reboot (if I can extend the metaphor), if you will. Do things over, but not too differently. The reason the story doesn't completely break canon is because it is still based on actual canon (the actual break in the storyline flows smoothly from existing canon). Like I mentioned before, some fans may have an issue with this. But I don't don't. Well, that's not completely true... I have a slight problem with the Uhura-Spock romance, but not enough to prevent me from enjoying the new direction. Anyway, as I was saying, I liked the movie and I have a good feeling about the new direction of Star Trek. I know everyone has been talking about how awesome this movie is, but I'm not saying it just to say it. I have some pretty high standards when it comes to Star Trek and this movie didn't fail to meet them. Star Trek just got interesting and enjoyable again.