Warning: No Spoilers. I'm not interested in detailing the movie here, but my impression of it, how it was done and my background when it comes to JJ Abrams.
I was truly excited for the new Star Trek movie for really one reason. JJ Abrams involvement as Director. I'm a hardcore fan of the show Alias which was created and produced and occasionally the best episodes were directed by JJ himself. I've enjoyed the Lost episodes I've seen, although haven't watched much. Both series contain and exemplify the long term planning that makes commitment to the series worth something. He's so good at creating pay offs in the moment and pay offs that set your head spinning two, three or even four years later. This combined with his ability to take a genre, or idea and stay true to the greatest ideals of that idea/genre. I'll give you two examples of directing that illustrate my point.
First is the Kevin Smith, well known because of his New Jersey Chronicles, ie the Jay and Silent Bob movies about doing drugs, swearing, sex and all sorts of crazy mix 'em ups. At doing that type of flick, Kevin Smith is a master at writing interesting dialogue, and giving it a good mix of obscenities centered around and interesting story that keeps you hooked and watching till the end. He's made only one real venture into a different kind of flick with Jersey Girl. I'm not saying it's a bad movie, but it's far from earth shattering. It was cute, there was a sweet father daughter story arc with some swearing and dirtiness thrown in. It's a good little movie but not the kind that will leave most people weeping or feel like they're different people because they've seen it. I'm not gonna ask him to direct a feel good chick flick, or an intense horror/action film, I'm more interested in what he does well, D*%$ and fart jokes, as he puts it.
The second example is one that will reveal a side of me I don't flout very often. It's one of JJs other ventures, one of his first creations, the series Felicity. Yes, I have watched some, although not all of this show, and yes I like chick flicks and feel-good type movies, not all of them. from what I've seen, JJ did great work on character development, twisting plot lines, intense emotional moments, great cliff hangers and overall an interesting story development. His next show was Alias, as I've mentioned one of my favorites, and it was about a badass girl spy who realized she was working for the terrorists that she thought she was fighting against, became a double agent and works from the inside to take them down. not even close to the same dynamic, both very well done.
JJ went all in and didn't rely on anything as a crutch. One of things I love the most is that for him it's not about using the things he's learned in the past on the projects he's currently working on, but learning and using anything that will complete the vision as put forth by the writer that he trusts does their job well. This is why I was very, very interested in watching Star Trek. JJ Abrams actually admitted he's never really been a Trekkie (Anyone who uses the term trekker to describe themselves, or anyone, as a Star Trek Fan is an idiot. I don't go on hikes, I like Star Trek), but that he actually was much more a fan of the Star Wars films. So even without much love for the massive amounts of material upon which he could base this star Trek Film, he was able to study it, and stay true to the heart of why I believe most people love Star Trek, specifically the original series. The action, the characters and their relationships, the subtle jokes, the obvious jokes. It's awesome. He, along with the writers, beautifully sidestepped the problem of making a remake. I won't get specific storywise, but it stays true in those ways I mentioned above and has a perfect excuse not to be exactly in line with a prequel, on top of using that same reason to be able to continue on with sequels to this movie and have pretty much anything they want to be open for development.
And in closing, I fully stand with Wil Wheaton(For those of you non-trekkies, Wil Wheaton is the actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation) on his response to this remake of Star Trek. I too would like to see 10 more Star Trek Movies with this cast and creative team. It would be AWESOME!
PS:Wil Wheaton can be found at his blog http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/ and on twitter at http://twitter.com/wilw/