My verdict on the Star Trek movie: The best Star Trek movie by far. And one of the best Star Trek episodes. Director and producer J. J. Abrams–who has also kept me hooked on “Lost”–did a superb job. The actors, playing the younger versions of the later characters, nailed their roles. I tend to scorn mere special effects, agreeing with Aristotle that spectacle is the lowest of the dramatic arts. But these special effects were integral to the story and very well imagined: the battles soundless as they would be in space; evocative images, such as what a planet might look like where it to be sucked into a black hole; images of outer space and other planets of the sort the old black and white TV show could never pull off. [Note: Trekker informs me that the show was in color. My family didn’t get a color set until I left home for college. Still, the sets were wonderfully cardboard and fake-looking.] It was also full of fascinating sci-fi plot points, such as time travel and, again, black holes.
One criticism I heard is that this movie doesn’t do anything with the great Star Trek themes of intergalactic tolerance and a future filled with hope. First of all, that this was a theme of Star Trek was greatly exaggerated and nearly non-existent in the original series. In the succession of Next Generations, it devolved into a tone of self-righteous, politically-correct, touchy-feely superiority that I found insufferable. This version had none of that self-conscious posing–just a good story and strong characters–which made it all the better. Nor did it play for laughs or irony or camp (though there were plenty of allusions and foreshadowing of the TV series, which were fun). It was just a very satisfying movie. You’ll like it.(In responding to your comment-reviews: Peter, this was NOTHING like those other Star Trek movies that you, like me, find “insufferable.” Michael Poort, we do have two time-lines and two alternative histories: The old Spock, remember, could recall his time-line, in which Kirk’s father lived, Vulcan was still doing fine, etc. That’s the cosmology in the show and in the books. But the time travel interfered, setting up another history that would unfold. . . .Listen to me! I’m soundling like a Trekkie! I’m not one. Really.)