I wrote this commentary on Abrams' effort back in May of 2009. I have to say, I don't think my observations have changed that much, but here's one factoid for you all: it was around this time that I was also collecting The Original Series, also on Blu-Ray. I've had multiple sessions of that collection out and enjoyed them between here and now. On the other hand, I'm not sure I've watched its reboot start-to-finish so much as once. That said, submitted for your approval:
- The Issue of Canon - So is Abrams' Star Trek "canon," which is to say, on concert and agreement with the rest of the ST universe and history? Frankly, I'm not sure it matters! The second you introduce a temporal anomaly (a practice way overused with Voyager and Enterprise), the concept of canon goes out the window, because you're no longer on the original ST timeline. I still think it's lazy writing, though.
- Kobayashi Maru - Sorry, but I don't see Kirk being that flip with the KM scenario, nor do I buy Spock programming it, though it explains Spock's comment in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan about having never taken the test. Taking that kind of hot-shot attitude is a wonderful way to get you kicked out of any military institution and perhaps even a paramilitary organization like Starfleet. [shrug] They read the script.
- Pavel Chekov - Wrong, wrong, WRONG! Walter Koenig's Russian accent was never that pronounced. On top of that, Time Line 1's Chekov had to be at least 10 years younger than Kirk, but again, the anomoly lets them off the hook.
- Spock & Uhura - WHERE in the name of Rigel VI did THIS come from?!? Sorry, time line alteration doesn't excuse this one, not even close, and I don't care how hot Zoe Saldana is!!!
- Inner Space - The one premium in any spacecraft is SPACE, as in usable space. They must have warped space on the inside of the ship as much as the outside, for all the open spaces in engineering and elsewhere. The original NCC-1701 was downright cramped by comparison. Add to that the utterly ridiculous liquid flow business that Scotty got trapped in and any chance at believability goes right out the window. And if they want comic relief, there are better ways to get it.
- Karl Urban - Close, damned close, a Leonard H. McCoy that I wouldn't mind seeing more of ... though not so many hypo-sprays next time, eh?
- The Bridge - Someone save me from OHMYGOD super-huge graphical displays and readouts! Never mind The Original Series, the movies, TNG, DS9, and Voyager were positively conservative as it comes to this issue! Further, you do not need whizbang displays to tell a story. TOS told stories with cheap lights and archaic effects 40 years ago and thrilled millions. Abrams' approach borders on juvenile.
- Zachary Quinto - Not bad, though he has a long way to go to find the kind of gravitas that Leonard Nimoy brought to the same character.
- The Drill - Ummm, how about "Lock phasers onto the connecting cable ... FIRE! Problem solved, but the storyline gets a boo-boo.
- Red Matter - I've heard of dark matter, antimatter, and sometimes it doesn't matter, but RED MATTER?!? PUL-LEASE! Someone wasn't using their gray matter on this one.
- Chris Pine - Maybe ... just maybe. He's got the brashness down, as well as the murderous right cross and he clearly knows how to push Spock's buttons. No reference to chess, though, which would have helped just a touch.
- NCC-1701 - Sexed up more than a little, looks nice enough ... but WHERE THE F*** did all those phasers come from?!?
- Leonard Nimoy - What can I say ... I have loved Spock from the get-go. He could read the phone directory and I would enjoy it for the simple sound of his voice. The interaction with him and young Kirk had at least a little something working for it.
All the above said, I will admit to grudgingly liking it, though mostly as a shoot-em-up space opera. I have to wonder if Abrams ever bothered to watch Wrath of Khan for its drama or The Voyage Home for its humor, or if he just took the characters on a sheet of paper and projected his take onto them. His characters manage not to be caracatures, but neither do most of them really find the original gang, and yes, I do insist on working from the originals. They're the reason Abrams has anything to work with in the first place and they deserve more respect and effort than was shown here. Lazy writing and an overemphasis on effects does not science-fiction make, and honestly, that is mostly what J. J. Abrams has given us.