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Everything Wrong With The Star Trek Kelvin Timeline

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Paramount Pictures

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?

Getting started

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.

Egg-on-your-face Benedict

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.

Wrapping up

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.

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9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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