As for the shields at 31%, in the older shows didn't that mean they still worked but the ship just kind of shook around a bit from the impact and the actors would hold on to something and act like they had seizures?
Yes. It meant that the strength of the shield was at 31%. The charge on the battery, if you will. The more pressure was put on the shield, the more power it needed in order to hold, thus draining the shield "batteries" faster. Once it reached 0% the hull would take the pounding. In the movie you hear that the shield is still holding, because someone mentions that they won't be able to handle another hit, yet, the ship is already shot to pieces. Oh, great shield. I'm guessing they went for a sort of buffer approach where the shield absorbs some of the damage, meaning it can handle several hits instead of just one, but it still gets beat up.
I agree more with rusttle on this. If they had gone with a strict Star Trek cannon approach it would have been to hard to folow for non-Trekkies and they also would have been too constrained it what they were allowed to do creatively with the movie.
Why use the Star Trek universe if they want to cater to the non-Trekkies? Strip the Star Trek theme and you've got your basic sci-fi movie. Kid has father issues due to father dying early, kid learns resonsibility, kid befriends former enemy. I mean, if you gave it a high school theme instead and slapped some cheesy songs on it, you could sell the rights to Disney Channel for big bucks.
In my opinion, this movie is a great sci-fi movie that someone dipped in the Star Trek theme bucket in order to sell it to the massive Star Trek fanbase out there. They might as well have called it Star Wars and claimed that it was the alternate reality of the events taking place in Episode 5, Return of the Empire. Would have made just as much sense to me. Ooh, the Empire invented a huge mining vessel that drills holes in planets in order to implode them with liquified Force.
If you haven't seen the old movies, or found the old movies dull, you probably wouldn't care. ****, if the movie had better special effects, you might just like it over the cheesy humor and mediocre acting in the original, but for a fan like me, it would make about as much sense as if they had called the movie Star Trek and claimed that it was an alternate reality of the events taking place before the television series.
In simpler words, if you've seen the show Lassie, imagine if someone redid the show, but used a pitbull terrier instead and justified it with alternate realities. Yeah.