the pre-credit opening sequence is the greatest scene in the history of Star Trek
OK, improved FX standards not withstanding, the events of that opening scene are all rehashes of things done before. Plenty of inept captains have led ships into "abandon ship" moments, and umpteen "sudden heroes" have stepped up to do something as simple as stepping on the gas and crashing into another ship...thus saving piles of folks I've been given no time to care about from certain doom.
I'd be more impressed if he'd accomplished this without destroying a ship and himself. The suicide run was much too contrived.
For emotional impact at the time a ship is destroyed, no scene tears the heart of a Trekker out like the original 1701 self-destructing at the Genesis planet! I kept half leaving my seat, wanting to run to the panel and abort the countdown as it got into those last few seconds. I couldn't believe it was really going to happen. Someone stop it!!
And that first blast on the bridge planted me back in my seat, and my mouth fell open. And when it went to an exterior shot of the bridge being torn apart, tears welled in my eyes. When the disc shattered, my throat swelled closed and I audibly gasped. And as the remnants streaked across the sky to its firey end, tears streamed down my cheeks. She was really gone. I was less upset when Spock died. (Today, I'd want the charred carcass to be shown crashing to ground, creating a monstrous crater) as the twisting metals groan in agony.
Beyond the flashy destruction in the new opening, not sure what makes the scene great or greatest.
Certainly there was nothing that made me jump and cheer like the Bird of Prey's obliteration near the end of The Undiscovered Country. I recall that was a standing-o moment for the whole audience back then. Sure, the reuse of the FX for the very next film dilutes the effect today, but when new, on the big screen...wow.
Or the E's saucer emerging through the clouds headed for one very rough landing. Even if the actual landing fell short regarding the interior scenes, the moment it cleared the clouds into sunlight and there was no turning back....that got the heart pounding. When they braced for impact, I did to. Then moments later, the planet is destroyed and we believe the entire crew is gone. Nevermind we know how it ends now, or even that we suspected it won't be permanent the moment it happened. There's that part of you that, for a moment, accepts that it is real and considers 'what if this IS permanent?'.
The pre-credits setup of "Cause & Effect" as the crew is struggling to get the ship under control as a core breach builds, then tears the ship apart. I'm so thankful I watched that episode first-run on TV when it aired, cuz I was forced to wait through the credits and commericials- stewing in the WTF feelings. I received a couple of phone calls from pals during that short break, all flabbergasted from what they'd just seen, anxious to get to the next scene. The last hung up without a word as soon as the show came back on.
All these are FX scenes, tho. Plenty of scenes trounce anything that occured in the new film while featuring nothing but people standing still, talking. "The Inner Light", in a mere 42 minutes, introduced an entirely new family for Picard, as well as an entirely new life. Nothing built upon from prior episodes...and several times our hearts were torn out at the loses he faced...including the realization at the end that none of it was real to anyone but him, and he must mourn the losses alone.
There's a bunch of others that actually, truly 'moved' me. I didn't get any of that with the new film. It dumped wonder in favor of wowee, heart for macho.
OK, *now* I'm gonna go watch Stargate...