It's a first effort at adapting Star Trek to the feature film format, and it shows. Pacing is very slow for most of the film, only picking up near the climax. The slowness is not helped by long, drawn-out shots of the ship—leaving spacedock, exploring new environments, etc. At the time, I suppose, the audiences probably loved getting to see such views of the ship they'd known up until then only on small television screens, but that's the only purpose these…let's call them "ship porn" shots…serve. Dramatically, they belong on the cutting room floor (or, more accurately, should never have been shot, given how much of the $43 million budget effects shots consumed).
There just isn't enough plot to fill the runtime of this film. It feels like a standard one-hour TV episode script stretched to fill 2+ hours with eye candy. Presented as an episode of the original TV series that ran from 1966-1969, the film's plot would likely have been quite at home. As a full-length feature film, though, it felt like a slog. For the first 90 minutes or so I found myself often checking the playback position, the movie-watcher's version of constantly asking Mom, "Are we there yet?"
That's not what you want your viewers to do when they watch your film.
I absolutely liked the original Star Trek series, even though I haven't complete it yet, but I had not seen this film. So I indulge myself with this first film in honor of Star Trek's 50th anniversary.
It's definitely just like the original series but on a much more bigger scale and budget. You have your familiar characters Kirk and Spock, Sulu. The slow pacing gives it a grand monumental feel that allows the viewer to appreciate the set designs and directing style. It reminded me of something from Ridley Scott and older classic films like Time Bandits (1981) and Fantastic Voyage (1966). Every word that comes out of McCoy's mouth just cracks me up. His character adds comic relief to the dialogue.
After this, I now want to continue where I left off on the series and catch up on the rest of the series.
This movie could have been vastly improved with more curmudgeonly, sassy Bones. (Everything is improved with more sassy Bones.)
I watched this movie again this past weekend & it's probably been at least a decade since I last saw it. On blu-ray this movie is a little better than I remembered. It's certainly better at a higher-resolution. This is my favorite Enterprise design from the entire "Trek" history. The musical score is still great. "Ilia's Theme" is just a beautiful piece of music.
Biggest complaint is probably that it felt more like a really long episode of the TV show, however I think this movie is better understood when you consider the factors surrounding it:
--Reunion of the cast of a show that was loved by many
--First time they were on the big screen (it was not common to make a movie out of a previously existing TV show)
--Infighting among the producers/scriptwriters
This article is some great background on what was going on: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/star-trek/39338/star-trek-the-battle-to-make-the-motion-picture
You don't have to like this movie, but perhaps that background info will make you hate it a little less.