This new edition is an operetic rediscovery of the formula that made the original Star Trek such a success. Only better, faster, smarter, and even more entertaining than the original.
You already know most of the plot: Kirk and Spock save the Federation from an uncompromising villain, with the help of Uhuru, Scotty, and Bones. This time around, the characters are better acted and better directed than in prior series or movies.
Eric Bana plays the villain Nero (lovely historical reference!) -- though he is given the thinnest psychological excuse for his mayhem. Bana has had some great roles in the past, but is given little room to show off his talent here. No matter, the "Federation" team more than makes up for Nero's limited character development.
What you don't know is how Kirk, Spock, and the gang get to be on the Enterprise. In this version, the time/space continuum is skewered, requiring a whole new "history" to be created. This plot device allows a far more interesting storyline to develop.
The effects are out of this world -- excuse the pun. The combat in space scenes are superb. I believe superior to any prior Star Trek or even any Star Wars production. Michael Bay who is directing Transformers 2 got to beat this milestone achieved by Star Trek.
My criticism is minor. I could go for a less "Hollywood" soundtrack (why is there ochestral accompanyment in space??), although there were several great sequences when the sound (appropriately) went dead as the scene went into space. And the scenes with Leaonard Nimoy as "old" Spock were plodding moments in the film. Give the guy a double espresso and reshoot!
All in all, a wild roller-coaster ride from start to finish which is wonderful escapist entertainment. It's a heroic fight between good and evil, carried out on a galactic scale. And since it's the movies, we do know who wins.
The best scene :
watch out for the little James Kirk jumping out of his car. and coolly ask the police officer if he is in trouble...he reminds me of James Dean.