Yes, yes I did...
First off, I really enjoyed it.
I've been avoiding spoilers before getting to watch it so mostly all I've read is lots of other fans saying how it's really awesome and everyone should watch it. It is awesome, but not one to be overly awed, I wasn't as blown by it as I was lead to believe I might be by. Even so it was a good film.
Very good overall, especially McCoy! Karl Urban is fantastic. I never thought I could fancy Leonard McCoy, lol. Pegg wasn't great castings, I can see what they were trying to do with a funny (almost childish) angle, but it didn't *feel* like Scotty for me.
Although she was good enough and did the job, I'm still at a lose to understand why Winona Ryder was cast as Amanda.... Was there a cut scene of her being younger? I kept waiting for a flashback to happen. Correct me if Im wrong but I'm sure Ryder isn't even touching 40... just seemed odd to have someone so young playing an older woman.
Again, these were awesome. McCoy especially was channeling the late DeForest Kelley. He was the most like the original, and the others (other than Scotty) were as close as they could be within the confines of this new "reality".
I really liked the direction Spock is going in, totally believable and true to both the original and within the confines of this new universe. Actually the same could be said for all of them really for the most part.
A REALLY good idea. It very much is a relaunch rather than a reimagining I feel, but it is done well, the reasoning/logic is sound and it makes sense. The only thing(s) I would pick at, which has always bothered me about Star Trek anyway, is the "everybody is fantastic" and "fated to be together" shizzle. Don't worry, it's not as bad as when Worf inexplicably turned up in Insurrection (read my hubbie's hilarious review of that here!), but there are some bits that niggle.
I'll explain - I don't like the way Checov is some sort of Wesley Crusher superkid, and the way they "discover" Scotty. Yes, they are small things, so I can overlook them. But especially in the case of everyone being together, I was slightly irked at the time. It was partly done well - getting all the crew together as they should have been (though still a little baffled about McCoy being there, but then I don't know a lot about his personal history in "normal" canon). But it would have been better if Scotty had already been stationed on the ship... I know it was necessary to have him there for the whole beaming thing, but it felt too stretchy for me having him just found on some random outpost.
But then, that whole thing irked me. Obviously we needed to find old Spock, but the giant monsters, cute alien colleague (*rolls eyes*) and the incredible fact that for some reason Spock (quite illogically in my opinion) decided to maroon a crew member, mutiny or not! Was there no brig on the old Enterprise?
Though in regards to the whole Scotty thing, the constant plays for laughs, casting of a comedian and that damn bloody cutesy alien.. I think I may have viewed that differently were I under the age of 12... but as it I wasn't too keen. Which is a shame as I adore Simon Pegg in everything else he's done.
Moving onto the main plot points...
Prequel it is not. Given the time travel and parallel universeiness this avoided the movie being a prequel which I think was one of my biggest fears. I actually ended up watching all of Enterprise and enjoying it, but I still feel there is no need for a prequel.
Destruction of Vulcan...
Considering how hard I am to awe, I sure can get emotional, which included fighting back the tears during the opening scenes with the Kelvin. So imagine how close to blubbery I was when not only did Vulcan bite the dust, so did Amanda... nnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooo :( Even more devastating when you realise the whole race almost died. That "endangered species" speech almost had me in tears. Very brave move for future Trek considering Vulcans have always been a very highly featured race.
Spock and Uhura - totally believable, and I REALLY liked it. Interested to see where it goes... I can only imagine how many fanfics are being written as we speak! I know people have been writing a lot on the internet about this, but I have been avoiding it due to spoilerisation. So I will go back and read. But I know some people have tried to justify it by pointing out chemistry between them TOS, but I don't think that's necessary. It's a new universe, and within reason (i.e. staying reasonably within the parameters of the characters) anything goes.
Changing history: I honestly think this was an awesome idea! As far as I'm concerned it doesn't fuck with canon (yes, don't we all hate that!) but at the same time creates a completely free reign. In fact, I think they did quite well to keep the majority of characters very much like their originals. I felt that was actually quite respectful to canon.
Some general observations:
I know I am probably a really bad person for this, but I did actually laugh when Pike turned up in a wheelchair... I was just about to joke with hubbie that he might come on a la "The Menagerie" in a full on wheelchair and with the disfigurements, etc. I am wrong in the head. I know it.
And what was with the lights? Even in some of the scenes "filmed" in space there was often this very bright, occasionally flashing group of lights, almost like an added camera glare, which I found a little distracting. Glad I'm not epileptic.
Where to from here:
I presume that the sequel is now going to focus on the future of the Enterprise, but hopefully it will be another big adventure (like the old movies) but hopefully to a great degree it will diverge from known canon. They did such a good job making this parallel universe believable that it would be a shame to then essentially start remaking previous storylines and resurrecting old enemies in this new reality, when there are so many other things to be explored. I guess I worry that the next film will feature Khan or something, lol. The Wrath of Khan DOES NOT need to be reimagnined, so fingers crossed there...
In a more general way it would be good to perhaps to see in the future some of the more general history and how it unfolds here - the relations with the Klingons, the discovery of the Borg, etc. But hopefully, we won't end up with everything being done in full all over again from this new point of view. It needs to be subtle and not overly done.
I am curious about fan reactions... I for one have been a Star Trek fan since childhood and especially I am a huge DS9 fan and have RPed on and off for years... But I loved where they took this film. However, I can imagine that some truly die hard fans out there who make it their business to know every small insignificant part of canon might be a little put out. I think this treated canon well and was respectful to it, but for someone who is perhaps more obsessed by canon than I, they might feel a bit shit on.
Don't get me wrong, in context I hate it when people don't stick to canon - specifically in RP and fics when people Mary Sue all over the place and change canon accordinly (no dogs CANNOT detect changelings, I'm sure if they did then the Dominion War might have gone a little differently...). But I was happy with how this went down.
Now though I am a little sad, and it took me a while to work out why. It isn't just because it's the end of the universe as we know it, though that is sort of sad enough no matter how well it was done. For me, personally, it's that older Spock is still alive.... hear me out on this...
My empathy is on overdrive at the moment and I am feeling so very sad, not so much that the universe has changed, but that he, and he alone, remembers the way it was. The friends he had, the history he and those people shared, that will now never exist in the new reality in which he is trapped. Makes me sad...
On a complete side note. There was a guy in the cinema today sitting a few rows behind us that literally laughed at everything... it was very entertaining. Though he didn't laugh at Christopher Pike in a wheelchair...