2009's reboot of Star Trek is certainly an enjoyable improvement over the ailing Next Generation series of movies, but despite all the love and US box-office success (the film wasn't nearly so popular with ticket-buyers in the rest of the world), it still doesn't make the leap to being a great film. The opening with the birth of Kirk and the death of his father during a battle packs a surprising emotional punch and the film consistently does an interesting job of showing how the characters we know and love evolved - a cocky young Jim Kirk learning to brush that chip off his shoulder and earn responsibility, Spock still struggling with his half-human impulses - but there are things that don't work that well playing against the film. J.J. Abrams tendency to put lens flares in every other shot becomes increasingly distracting and, if anything, the refit of the Enterprise is much worse than in the 1979 film, making it look distractingly like a wildly overlit nightclub or computer salesroom. It's also a shame that for someone so cavalier about using other composer's music, Michael Giacchino's score eschews Jerry Goldsmith's iconic movie theme in favor of a combination of Tan Dun oriental scoring for the Vulcans and a Danny Elfman Batman-lite theme for the Enterprise itself. Even his version of Alexander Courage's original TV theme in the end credits is typically a rather hollow reorchestration.
The plot is another time travel/revenge story that ingeniously allows the filmmakers to create an alternate timeline for future entries with a well-motivated but otherwise rather underdeveloped villain in Eric Bana. It's blessed with particularly good casting, with Zachary Quinto's Spock and Karl Urban's McCoy uncannily catching the essence of their predecessors without falling into slavish imitation, and the film does work in many nods to the original series in the form of green women in bikinis, Commander Pike in his wheelchair, Sulu showing off his fencing, Kirk taking the Koboyashi Maru test, Chekov having twouble with his `r's and `v's and those perennially ill-fated redshirts. There's even a little bit of emotion with Leonard Nimoy's final scene talking about friendship defining both Kirk and Spock, though it's a pity that it wasn't William Shatner who delivered the iconic `Boldly go' end narration. It's a fun film filled with neat touches that's better than anyone had a right to expect, but there's still room for improvement in future voyages.
The single-disc version is extras-lite - just an audio commentary, featurette, outtakes and a couple of trailers for other movies, with the two-disc version offering deleted scenes and the expected self-congratulatory featurettes.