While the new Star Trek movie was entertaining, it won’t feel familiar to those whose first major contact with the series was The Next Generation. It’s a hyperactive, disorderly action film, populated mostly with teenagers who look straight out of The O.C. Star Fleet Command certainly seems surprisingly willing to give command of ships to reckless young people with no command experience. Those used to the deliberative, diplomatic approach of the Picard era are likely to find this jarring, or perhaps so alien as to be part of a different fictional universe altogether. At the same time, this film is definitely less absurd than some of the previous attempts to turn Patrick Stewart into a kind of big-screen action hero. If you insist on making Star Trek in an action genre, this may be the way to do it.
This film clearly attempts to start things afresh, and the re-launch of the series is handled in a somewhat clever way. By adopting a branching universe view of how time travel works, the writers gave themselves wide scope to produce a Star Trek variant in which significant elements of the original are vacant or absent.
Star Trek is basically a summertime puff film, strongest on visual effects and its ability to be compelling on a big screen. It is distinctly disjoined from the more intellectual traditions of the Star Trek universe, and would make an awkward platform from which to return to them. That being said, it may find a place as an entertaining and less mature split-off from the more serious mass. It’s not a film I regret seeing, but it’s not something I would care to see again.
P.S. On a technical side note, nitpickers will find plenty to quibble about, in terms of plot inconsistencies and appalling physics. For instance, why an elaborate skydive-from-space operation was necessary to disable a certain thing in one instance, when it proved quite vulnerable to conventional space-based weapons later. There are also some inconsistent transporter shenanigans. This is not a film for the type of people who care about the realities of jumping between metal platforms vertically separated by more than ten metres, without serious injury.