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I’m a Trekker who saw the movie on an IMAX screen in Austin, Texas on Monday, May the 5th (last night for me).
After an all-too-brief character setup, the plot begins to move at a blinding speed, changing direction so many times that you had to pay close attention to keep track of what goals the various players were trying to accomplish at any given time. It does not let up. While the story was certainly good hard sci-fi, I think they could have written just as fine a story without having the crew save the whole damn Federation One More Time. Still, the whole movie had me so enthralled, it seemed the credits were rolling after only a few subjective moments had passed. I almost cried.
The actors, considering the big shoes they had to fill, did a fine job. Chris Pine was good as Kirk, though it was apparant the brash confidence was forced out of him, as it waned at several key moments, and seemed overdone at others (though these were fewer). Zachary Quinto was not quite as subtle as Spock should have been played, though as a screen presence, he can sortof force you to overlook it. Karl Urban was completely awesome as McCoy — he stole every scene he was in, which was far too few. Anton Yelchin as Chekov was extremely entertaining. More entertaining than the original Chekov, if I’m allowed to say such things. The writing gave Scott and Uhura a bit more bredth than in previous Trek outings. Scotty is played very differently -- perhaps even a bit annoying, though I kinda liked him. For Uhura, I havn’t decided yet — you’ll see.
As far as adhering to Trek lore goes, they only hit the big points, and just enough details to get by. The Vulcans were logical (more logical than the in the later TV series', thank God), and had pointed ears in the right places. Earth still led a Federation of planets, and female crew wore mini-skirts. That said, the Enterprise herself was almost unrecognizable inside and out, except for a general shape. The Romulans really Were unrecognizable, though they havn’t really been interesting to me since TOS’s “The Balance of Terror” anyway (an awesome episode, btw). The after-timeline itself is broken by the time-travel paradox, so some things can be forgiven. Still, I’m less of a stickler for consistencies than other Trekkers, so I deducted very few points for this.
And lastly, on the sets and the effects — they were well done. The space battles visually enthralling, the sets were awesome if you can get past how different they are from TOS. I loved the new engine room, for instance, but disliked the bridge. There were aliens and monsters that will blow your mind, with the only downer being a comedy-relief alien sidekick that (thankfully) gets very little play.
If you are a Star Trek fan who does not use the word “canon” to describe previous plots and sets, you will have more fun than you can stand. I’ll be at the Theater on Thursday to see it again, and probably won’t leave until sometime Monday morning.