Let's start with history, shall we? I have been a fan of Star Trek since I was three years old. I have cherished memories of watching it with my father a"h during the original run - specifically, I remember the intro to "Operation: Annihilate", when Kirk talks about his brother. When it was shown nightly on WPIX (channel 11) I'd miss half of dinner so I could watch it. I read any and all books, I memorized titles and plots, and I can still identify any episode in moments.
By the time I was eleven, I was writing fanfic for it. By the time I was twelve, I'd had my own alternate universe. And I drew pictures, too. The only thing I didn't do was slash it - I saved that for Starsky and Hutch, although I think the episode "The Empath" is what made me the slash fan I am.
I loved NextGen. I adored DS9. I watched about half of Voyager, and slashed it in public. I could not watch Enterprise. I watched all the movies except Nemesis. Some were dreadful; some were wonderful. V never happened.
I have never loved it uncritically - I love it too much for that. Because I do love it. But it was getting old and I was less and less enthralled by the newer entries.
And Thursday night, I fell in love all over again.
Chris Pine (aside from the beautiful blue eyes that should have been hazel) was perfect as Kirk - brass, impulsive, honorable, and after anything he can get. He wasn't quite the Kirk we knew - but he isn't supposed to be. He's younger than Kirk Prime was when we met him and he's had a different life.
Zachary Quinto was Spock. No more, no less. Again, not Spock Prime, but still very Spock.
Zoe Saladana was Uhura as she was supposed to be - I hope Nichelle Nichols is proud. I love that we met her as a competent, intelligent woman not to be messed with or insulted - that she speaks multiple languages and tops her class in her speciality - and THEN discovered she was dating Spock. And I really loved that - she and Spock worked well together. Maybe it will last, maybe it won't and they'll be adult about it, but right now they're together and it's good.
Karl Urban, in the way, WAS McCoy. It was a bit over the top, but we could see how his deep friendship with Spock began. (Also with Kirk, but that was easier.)
As for the rest of the cast - oh, yes. Chekov was his own problem - but the actor is the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia, and he was just as puppydoggish as Chekov was. I do have a quibble, but I'll get to that later. John Cho - oh, they made the fencing relevant, instead of joke. YAY! Simon Pegg WAS Scotty. Ben Cross was Sarek. Bruce Greenwood's Christopher Pike was everything he should have been - the role model *this* Kirk needed.
And while I wasn't enthralled with the Romulan plot, one thing made me very happy - that Nero wasn't a starship crewmember, wasn't a member of the military in that very militaristic culture. He was a *miner*, earning a living for his family. We don't see those - we never see those. We never see the school teachers or the cooks or the people who fix the roads. The overarching plot doesn't allow for that normally. But we did this time. And that's just very good.
As for the heart of the matter - I like the reboot. I like the changes (well, except for the loss of Vulcan and the loss of Amanda. Can't be happy about either of those - but, oh, won't that make the future interesting.)
Before we knew that things had changed, I was picking at nits - how could Uhura be *older* than Kirk and yet still a lieutenant while he's a captain? What happened to Gary Mitchell? To Finnegan? To the shiny cadet uniform Finnegan wore in "Shore Leave"? What happened to Kodos?
But the change - killing George Kirk - makes those things disappear. Note that the major part of the movie happened twenty-five years after George died and Jim was born. Which means Jim was 22 years old when he joined the Academy. Jim Prime joined when he was 17, following in the footsteps of the father who raised him. Five years makes a huge difference - he doesn't meet Gary, he doesn't encounter Finnegan (and the uniforms could certainly change) and it's entirely possible that Uhura is four years younger but follows a career path that doesn't lead to superfast promotions. And 14 year old Jim Kirk was stealing his stepfather's antique car in Iowa, not doing whatever he was doing on Tarsus V. It all WORKs.
(EDIT: according to canon, Jim Prime met Gary when Gary was a cadet and Jim Prime was an instructor. That means at LEAST five years. So they might have been classmates, but this Jim has already met McCoy, and he's a somewhat different person. Which also explains no Gary.)
What doesn't work is Chekov. Not the curly blond hair. Not the fact that he wasn't around first season - that's in the other universe anyway, and nine years later. No, it's the timeline itself. Chekov Prime is 22 to Kirk Prime's 34. That's a twelve year age gap. If Chekov is 17, Kirk has to be 29, but he isn't - he's 25. Which would make Chekov 13, and he's clearly not. And that makes my head hurt.
However, now we have a Kirk who is still a bit rebellious and VERY young working with Spock (as it's meant to be) on the Enterprise, a Spock who not only has a relationship, but is on speaking terms with his father - and grieving for his planet and his mother. (Still not happy about those.) And I have absolutely no idea what the future for *this* universe will be, or how things will play out if they do encounter any of the same problems, and that makes me very happy and very hopeful.
As for the slash - I can see it but I don't need it for this incarnation of Trek, and that's just fine by me, too.