One of the best, most fun movies I've seen in a very long time.
From a writer's POV, (I'm rapidly becoming only able to absorb story filtered through my writer's POV) it's an extremely character-driven story. There's Kirk, the quintessential boy-without-a-father. And not only that, Dad's a hero. The film trusts its audience to realize the connection between parental sacrifice and a son's guilt and angst that manifests into foolhardy violence paired with inherited whip-crack smarts. Throughout the film, the character Kirk is as close to perfect as he can be, but he damn well pays for it.
They up-played Spock's feelings of being torn between two worlds, pushing it as far as he could. However, the actor's a cute kid without Nimoy's intriguing facial features. Nimoy could speak volumes with a quirked eyebrow. So, as the franchise continues, I wonder how he'll do. But they up-played emotions enough to bring that internal conflict to the extrernal. If they do this over and over, it'd wear thin. But centering the story on major plays of emotion was a great way to re-introduce the 21st Century's Star Trek crew to a wide-ranging audience.
They didn't have to do much with Bones but copy the original character. Bones had always been the one to make piercing, sarcastic comments anyway, well beyond his 1970's TV league, so they found someone who could duplicate him with few tweaks to his character. I know I'll be hearing "Are you out of your Vulcan mind?" all summer from my ten-year-old.
And Scotty is...Scotty. If you've seen Shawn of the Dead then you know the actor (if you haven't, then you've just tied up your Sunday with watching it--greatest zombie film ever). He's perfect for the role, despite his lean, tropy beginnings as the misunderstood, brilliant engineer relegated to an outpost planet, accompanied by a scaley version of an ewok, and discovered by Kirk only through plotted consequence.
The acting on all quarters is absolutely flawless. The characters move in their world without a hitch and the plot takes every opportunity to throw personal flaws and mistakes in their faces. Not only that, they're damn fun to watch--attractive actors who know how to make the most of their roles.
Yeah, women were delegated to producing the characters and mini-skirted love interests. In my opinion, a lot was lost there. But this particular film is about men, with men in all the primary roles. Star Trek mostly has been, really. Hopefully it's something that will be rectified in the future as it has been in the past.
Also, time travel through black holes...yawn. But I have to remember that 90% of the people who see this film aren't SF/F people. I mean, were they supposed to reinvent Warp Drive, too? And it sucks they killed off the baddies; they were delicious. I trust they'll bring back some Romulans in sequels. Speaking of, I can't wait to see what else they'll do with this franchise. No doubt a fortune will be made, and the creative team deserves every penny. I can't wait to own this film, and I'm sure we'll be buying the PS2, Wii, and DS games soon.
addendum: At the end of the showing, the audience applauded. When does that ever happen anymore?