If you want to see it completely fresh, then stop reading. If you're not to concerned about having what is essentially a prologue spoiled, then you can read this article and still enjoy the bulk of the movie fresh.
The movie opens in the middle of the action. It hits the ground running as all action movies seem to want to do these days. That's fine. All good action fiction should hit the ground running.
But what is essentially a prologue to the main film was, for me, a really good ending to a potentially great episode of Star Trek if it were back on TV (where it belongs). I would really like to have seen the first 40 minutes of that episode. It could easily have been more like Star Trek then the rest of the movie that comes afterwards.
The Enterprise crew has clearly chosen to break the Prime Directive by saving a planet full of white-skinned aliens. It would have been interesting to see the crew wrestle with their responsibilities not to break the Prime Directive, and their desire to save an entire species who are doomed to die. Do they break their Starfleet oaths? Or do they let an entire species die. That would have been riveting to see Kirk and Spock and McCoy wrestling with that dilemma. That would have given further gravitas to McCoy's answer to Kirk's question: "What would Spock do?"
Obviously Spock is argued into action because it is he who has to set the device in the volcano. I imagine Kirk wanting to do it himself and Spock pointing out that it should be he who sets the device as his Vulcan physiology would allow him to function long after a human would have passed out from the extreme heat. It would also have been a great opportunity for a scene between Uhura and Spock. "You may not care about your own life, but did you ever consider what your death would do to me, you selfish Vulcan?"
Why was the Enterprise hiding under the ocean? That would have been interesting to watch the decision making process that led to that development. I imagine Scotty's initial resistance at such a mad idea, then watching as he reluctantly solves the engineering problems that allow them to do just that.
Why did Kirk steal the scroll? Perhaps it was a last minute thing. Perhaps Spock determines that he cannot set the device fast enough to guarantee the safety of the temple. Kirk has to figure out a way -- fast -- to get them out of the temple without revealing who he is. It would have been entertaining to see the aliens worshiping the scroll and Kirk's spur-of-the-moment decision to steal it in order to get them out of the temple.
And what about McCoy? He obviously had to spend some time getting that beast that Kirk stuns to be cooperative enough to be their ride. Imagine The potential for a number of humorous scenes of McCoy trying to coax a recalcitrant animal into taking riders on its back. McCoy as a grumpy "alien whisperer" would have been priceless.
See? Now THAT would have been a decent episode of Star Trek if Star Trek were to return to television, like it should.It's just too bad that the rest of the movie was not quite as good. I mean, it was exciting and thrilling (and in 3d!) but it wash't really Star Trek.
Not my Star Trek, anyway.
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