I disagree about the lack of conflict in TNG and post TNG. VOY was perhaps too much of a friendly kid show but DS9 had easily the most explosive crew-combination and ENT was refreshingly politically incorrect for Trek with a very undiplomatic captain and first officer.
About the previous idea for an eleventh Trek movie, well, there is a report by a guy who has read a script draft:
or if you want the short version http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_The_Beginning
I llove Romulan war stories, I like the idea to set up a trilogy and despite being part of the Roddenberryian-utopian fan fraction I also like the idea to do warmovies in Trek ... but in general it doesn't sound very good to me. A movie partly based upon a cancelled series with a character who is the ancestor of Kirk? Nah, too fanwankish for my taste. And as you said, as innovative as it all sounds it came too late.