I just got back from seeing it tonight. I am a long time fan of the original series. I used to watch the TV show on an old black and white set, with my Dad, who was a fan from the beginning. The strange part for me was seeing Kirk as a kid. I had seen a little of this with Spock in the animated series, so it wasn't far off. The other strange part was the modernistic redesign of the bridge. The other changes to costumes and props really didn't stand out. Even the Enterprise exterior was enough like the original to pass relatively unnoticed. The glass panels on the bridge however, and the overall white decor did take some getting used to. Minor points.
The casting of the big 5 - Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura and Scotty, could NOT have been better. Chris Pine had just the right amount of swagger and attitude to be convincing. He doesn't look like Shatner. He doesn't talk like Shatner. He openly ogles women more than Shatner, but then, we all know what Kirk was thinking in the old days anyway. He just makes it more obvious now. Quinto is flawless as Spock. He has the character down completely. There is an under the surface ANGER in him that is highly reminiscent of Nimoy in the famous "Amok Time." McCoy I swear has DeForest Kelly's same Southern twang. It's subtle, but it's trademark McCoy. And I swear it's not put on. It comes across as completely natural. It's really eerie. You'll hear lines come out of the new McCoy that were used by Kelly when he was McCoy, and it just sounds right. His cranky attitude is also spot-on here. Uhura is obviously respectful of the part. She is classy, smart and absolutely exudes femininity - like Nichelle Nichols did back in the 60's.
The plot is something that could easily have come from the best of Star Trek novels. It's the future altered, and in a way so huge, that it tears at the very fabric of history. And yet, there is a clear sense of fate in this film. Some things simply are ordained in this universe, and will occur no matter what interference mortal beings contrive.
The result is completely new, but is CLASSIC TREK in the very best sense of that expression. I cannot wait for the next adventure with this crew. They are fun and unpredictable. The universe is their oyster. JJ. Abrams has passed the Kobyashe Maru. The unwinnable scenario has been won. How do you make a classic Star Trek film without most of the original characters? Abrams is the only one who has done it. Abrams has reprogrammed the scenario. And the Star Trek world will thank him for it.