Katie and I watched the first Star Trek movie together. It is, to be frank, an awful movie. I had to check on the Internet afterwards to confirm what I suspected, while watching the movie.
#1. It was originally supposed to be an hour-long TV episode. They stretch out the story into two hours, through overuse of slow motion and scenery porn. At multiple points, it spends at least five minutes, showing off the outside of a spaceship.
#2. The special effects were not finished. The studio ended up firing that department and replacing them with whoever could get it done, by the release date. They "finished" with less than 24 hours to spare.
As for the story, it was okay. Some fans complain that it's too similar to one of the earlier episodes, but it didn't bother me. They were different enough, to be considered separate stories. The ending was the best part. The worst part is probably our heroes trying to contact the aliens, which takes way too long, and contains a LOT of reaction shots. It was kind of like DragonBall Z, where you see how every single character individually reacts to every single development. In some cases, they react multiple times.
I think they could have stretched out the movie, with more focus on character introductions. Like, there are seven "main" cast members. Give each one of them a scene, where they come back! That takes more time than introducing Sulu, Uhura and Chekov all together.