First off, I just want to say that J.J Abrams is a hugely talented writer and director. His work on Lost; Super 8 and Cloverfield alone means he deserves all the credit he gets. He also did a decent job with parts of the recent Star Wars movies. But what about his work on the Kelvin timeline Star Trek movies?
There needs to be a little backstory before we begin. After the critical and commercial failure of Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002, there was a bit of a void in the Trek universe. In 2005, Viacom and CBS Corporation went their separate ways. Paramount Pictures then convinced CBS to allow them to make another Star Trek movie.
Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman were both approached to write the film, and J.J Abrams to direct it. A story revolving around Kirk training at Starfleet had been around since 1968. But for this film, a decision was made to create an alternate reality: The Kelvin timeline. Now, this seems to have been done to allow the film to avoid the constraints of continuity and have more freedom.
Trek fans have argued over the years about whether this was a good idea or not. I’ve also heard some people say the three Kelvin films should be banished to Rura Penthe for all eternity. I happen to think they should be. Let’s start with the first one.
To boldly reboot
Star Trek was released in 2009 to much excitement and fanfare. There was a line-up of new actors portraying the original cast. Chris Pine as Kirk; Zachary Quinto as Spock; Karl Urban as Dr McCoy and Simon Pegg as Scotty. Now these are fine actors with excellent CV’s and to their credit, they portray the characters very well. They are not imitations, but they keep the quirks of the originals.
Now on to the story. This isn’t the worst film of the Kelvin trilogy. In fact, it’s the best of a bad bunch. The plot revolves around a rogue Romulan called Nero who attacks Vulcan, along with story of how Kirk; Spock and McCoy ended up in Startfleet. Eric Bana does a sterling job of playing the baddie and the effects and pace of the film is done very well. But let’s be honest, it isn’t really Star Trek.
The deep, ethical philosophy and emotional conundrums core to Star Trek were largely abandoned. They replaced with action sequences and brawn over brains. I know they were trying to appeal to a wider audience but in doing so, they sold a bit of Gene Rodenberry’s soul.
If Star Trek had Gene Rodenberry turning in his grave, then I think Star Trek: Into Darkness had him well and truly spinning.
J.J. Abrams himself admitted that he got this film wrong, and I would wholeheartedly agree.
Let’s look at some positives first. For example, the cinematography is superb. The effects were award-winning, and they had the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. And therein lies one of the problems. Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Khan Noonien Sing; famously played by the superb Ricardo Mountalban.
Now, there is no denying that Mr Cumberbatch is a fantastic actor, but it didn’t feel right him playing a character that was of Sikh/Asian descent. I get that it’s an alternate universe, but it just felt a bit jarring.
The plot was also like previous Khan storylines. The main story revolved around Khan attacking Startfleet, and to free his cryogenically frozen people . It didn’t bring anything new to the table, or at the very least, add any new layers to the original story.
There’s also that one scene that features actress Alice Eve in her underwear. It was completely irrelevant to the film and served no purpose whatsoever. Pleasing to the eye, yes, but it was crass and should have ended up on the cutting room floor.
It’s certainly not Star Trek. Add in the silly overuse of lens flare and you have a film that’s convoluted; unoriginal and lacklustre.
Beam me up, Scotty
The final film of the rebooted Kelvin timeline series was Star Trek: Beyond.
For me, this was the one film that had me leaving the cinema completely deflated. Not that I entered the cinema with high expectations, mind. The film was co-written by Simon Pegg; known by UK viewers for his various comedy TV shows and films. He certainly added some of his trademark humour into the film, but it just felt a little forced.
The storyline was ok; more like an elongated episode from the original series, but with the fantastic Idris Elba as the villain. There’s no denying that Edris is a fantastic actor, but the plot just plays it safe again. There was certainly no boldly going where no screenwriter had gone before.
Yes, there are some frenetic action scenes, along with the obligatory destruction of the Enterprise. But we’d expect nothing less from director Justin Lin; most famous for his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. If you were to really think about this film, it is pretty much the Fast and Furious in space.
There is one touching moment in the film, which is where Spock finds out that the elder Ambassador Spock has died. That was done in homage to Leonard Nimoy, who had recently passed away. But in the end, it’s just another popcorn action movie that brings nothing to the franchise.
So, there we have it. Have the Kelvin timeline films brought anything new to the Star Trek franchise? In my opinion, no. They’re action-heavy and well-acted, but offer little to expanding the franchise. They also don’t offer the thinking person anything to get their teeth into.
If you want J.J-helmed simplistic whizz-pop-bang space adventures that aren’t Star Wars, then watch them. But if you want pure Trek that poses questions and pushes boundaries, then ignore these films and watch the original movies. They are so, so much better.
Thanks for reading our article on what went wrong with the Star Trek Kelvin timeline. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
More of our Star Trek articles HERE.
Read IMDB information on Star Trek (2009) HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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