Where do I begin?
Guess I'll try to get some discussion from the posts that are already here. Naturally, I'm going to give away some huge spoilers so look away now if you haven't seen the movie.
It manages to pay tremendous homage to the original series and movies, while removing the majority of the geek factor.
I'm curious as to what people consider the "geek" factor of Star Trek, because from what I understand, all the geek factors of Star Trek are everything that makes bad Trek. Meaningless technobabble, catch-phrasing, self-referencing...any good Trek episode/movie would have a minimal use, or complete absence of, these elements. There's a difference between paying homage and recycling entire lines from previous episodes and movies. This is the level of fan service that the Star Wars prequels employed, where we're suppose to nudge our buddies and smile and wink at them because they mentioned something that sounds familiar simply for the sake of having it there.
Dead-on, great performances.
Most of these performances were the actors trying to imitate the original series actors. Now, I don't have a problem with that, because these actors have been handed a really big task of revitalizing these really old characters, and there's lots of jaded Trek fans with sticks up their ass that arn't going to accept changes in the characters. Overall, I liked the actors- I just wished they gave them something more to work with.
I agree the problem is the writing, completely. These characters are given no time and no dialogue to develop beyond their roles on the ship. There are no characters, simply people who do stuff. You have Chekov, the math genius, Scotty, the engineer guy, etc. They are defined by their roles and not their personalities, aside from very basic things such as Spock trying to constantly suppress his emotions, and that's only because he's one of the main characters.
I don't think they should've included the introductions to half these characters if they wern't going to do jack shit with them. It felt, once again, like the Star Wars prequels, like when they stuck Chewbacca in there for no reason other than for the audience to go, 'omg it's Chewbacca'. This is something that irritated me to no end in the TNG films: Beverly activating the E.M.H., Deanna is drunk, Worf's got a fuckin' pimple for crying out loud.
Also, the Orion chick is perhaps the worst makeup I've seen in /any/ Star Trek film or show. Enterprise did Orions better, and that was on a TV budget. Yech. On the other hand? Great work on the mini-troll assistant they gave Scotty.
I just ignored the Orion chick because it was such a small detail (Besides, didn't think it was that bad, and it was probably, once again, to make the TOS fans do the wave because it had a retro look to it), but goddamn I couldn't stand that mini-troll assistant thing. Are you kidding me? You're going to give him a stupid little sidekick like that? I can't believe they did something so cheap and childish for the sake of a bunch of cheap laughs.
Nero is definitely forgettable
Nero isn't forgettable because he's not a character. He has the most retarded motivation I've seen since...since...well, Star Trek: Nemesis. I guess that kinda backfired on me.
So let's recap what's happened here. Spock has this red matter, it creates black holes, which will absorb the huge blast from the supernova-ing Romulus sun (Which makes one wonder why the black hole doesn't just suck up the supernova and then fires off into the alternate dimension like a huge flamethrower and blows up that universe instead- how does this stuff work?). He gets there too late, Romulus is destroyed, and the black hole generated sends Nero and Spock through time...or in this case, another dimension.
This is so full of stupidity that I can't help but comment. First off, if there was enough time to realize the sun of Romulus was going supernova, contact Vulcan, having the Vulcans prepare their fastest ship, and then having Spock arrive there just as the supernova destroys the planet...WHY DIDN'T YOU FUCKING EVACUATE ROMULUS? It's like the people who are living in this universe are out of their minds. Even if they were so damn sure the Vulcans were going to make it on time, I hear that planets without suns are a bit on a nippy side as far as weather goes.
Nero, looking on at this, automatically assumes that Spock got there late on purpose and decides to wait 25 years so he can torture him. This is a completely contrived and forced conflict. The way he does things is like a stupid James Bond villain too. "In order to beat you, I will make you suffer the loss of your world the way I suffered the loss of mine!" Uh, Spock was trying to help you, and you know he was trying to help you.
What makes even less sense is how the time travel is handled in this movie. Well, the time travel concepts themselves do make enough sense, but the actions that result from it do not. They don't go for the "Single timeline being screwed theory", so I know people are going to point out the fault with me next statement- even if Nero was stuck in the past, that means Romulus is fine. There's nothing wrong with it. Go over there and warn them that this is going to happen, problem solved. Of course, the writers have created this whole idea that since that rather than going into the past, they've actually traveled into an alternate dimension. Okay, fine, but how is that stopping Nero from going back and at least TRYING this method since there's no reason whatsoever he should know that the black hole has sent him into another dimension rather than simply back in time(You'd think that he'd figure that out within 25 years, he already learned the Stardate from the Federation ships). And if this red matter can be used to simply go to other dimensions (seemingly to a random time), there should be nothing stopping Nero from studying this red matter so that he can use it for this very purpose instead of the intended purpose of blowing shit up (Or sucking shit up, I guess).
But hey, he's a miner, maybe he lacks that ability (Even though it wouldn't be difficult to go and ask people that are available in the universe to help you study this red matter since they would all be grabbing it like crazy as the most powerful weapon of destruction in all of the known universe). So in order to save Romulus from being destroyed by a natural disaster, I'm going to destroy every single planet of the Federation who attempted to prevent that natural disaster from happening! Wait, what? If we get past that first problem and Nero actually realizes that this is an alternate dimension, he has no reason whatsoever to go around blowing up a bunch of Federation planets that arn't even going to be the same universe. His anger is a completely contrived just so we can have a bad guy. Okay, he wants Spock to suffer now by blowing up Vulcan (If Spock KNEW the whole time he was only a short distance away from a Federation outpost, why didn't he go there and try to beam up/get transported to Vulcan so he could warn people?).
I can't believe how many monumentally stupid things Nero does in this movie just so that the plot can get done what it needs to get done.
And the writing...this is Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci- I was already worried when I saw these two names as the screenwriters for Star Trek. They have written such literary masterpieces as Transformers, and Eagle Eye, known to me as "the movie where people survive falling into liquid nitrogen".
There is also a complete lack of anything Star Trek here. Well, that's a bit unfair- there is a bit of a good theme going on of loss, with Spock losing his mother and his people, Kirk losing his father and trying to understand him through Old Alternate Spock, Nero losing his wife and child...this amounts to nothing more than a missed opportunity, though.
Anyway, that was a huge rant, so I'll leave off for now with some positive notes:
I loved the set design.
I loved the special effects.
The acting, for the most part, was good, but crappy writing ruins it.
I loved the retro garish color scheme.
I loved the first ~10 minutes of the film.
Overall? It's a pretty good summer action film I guess, as good as any other movie of this type gets. This could've been any generic science-fiction action film- there is no real Star Trek-ness here, which defeats the point of even making it a Star Trek film in the first place. It would be like making a Final Fantasy XIV a side-scrolling megaman-like game that was actually a pretty good/fun game. Sure, fun to play, but why the heck is it called Final Fantasy?