Lessons to be learned from the Kelvin Universe Films

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by The Overlord, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Since it doesn't look like we are getting another Kelvin Universe movie for the foreseeable future, I thought it would be interesting to talk about lessons to learn from the Kelvin Universe movies. This franchise was popular at first, but lost steam over time and here is some things are worth looking at in that regard, I think these films did some things right but made some errors that cost them in the long run:

    1. Strike while the iron is hot: There was a 4 year gap between Star Trek 09 and Into Darkness, which I think killed the momentum of the first film, next time the filmmakers should not let a gap like that happen again.

    2. Better plan your franchise, I think there should have been an overall plan how this franchise would proceed and link the films in continuing story, these films seemed like random adventures rather than parts of a greater whole, while the original Star Trek movies from 2 to 4 had a story thread that continued throughout the series, elements of which were picked up in 6. Planning the franchise better would allow for tighter storytelling and give people more incentive to show up for the next film.

    3. Do not over mine nostalgia: Here is the big problem with the second film, they brought in Khan too quickly and wanted to hit beats from Wrath of Khan so hard, they recreated an entire iconic scene from it. I do not mind a few callbacks or nods to other parts of the franchise, but that was overkill. They could have done anything, instead, they did the greatest hits version of Star Trek and brought back Khan. Into Darkness is my least favorite film of this series because of that.

    4. Reign in the Budgets: I liked some of the special effects in these films, but sometimes it felt like they were throwing money at the screen hoping that would make the audience come in droves. There is a panning shot in Star Trek Beyond that is a beautiful shot of the York Town space station and we can see how much money they spent on it, it looks nice but adds nothing to the story, it looks like they blew the budget on something that could have been cut back. If some of these films were cheaper, they would have been more profitable.

    Those are my take away points, what do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  2. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Commodore Commodore

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    To be fair regarding #2, films II-IV were not actually planned but each film built off of what the previous film laid out, which I thought the Kelvin films did fine with, like how BEYOND has Kirk reflecting on whether joining Starfleet was his decision or if he was just chasing his lost father’s legacy rather than making his own.

    But I agree with #1. Waiting that long just for JJ to do his pet project SUPER 8 in between films was not necessary, especially since he wasn’t even sure he wanted to come back for another. They should have just looked for another director right from the get go.
     
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  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Don't copypaste scenes, even if you think you're doing a clever AU version of an event. Zachary Quinto mimicking Shatner's scream was the worst 10 seconds in movie Trek, and too many people remember that and the death scene instead of the entirely original and awesome movie around them.

    Don't base your sequels too closely on the originals. It's a little like they looked back and decided 2: Khan, 3: Enterprise destroyed and (unmade) 4: Time travel and built from there.

    Don't be afraid to change the status quo. Unkilling Kirk in 15 minutes. Everyone ending each film in their old positions.

    Let go of the past. Nimoy in ST'09 was enough. The video call in ID made sense. The photo in Beyond was touching and I understand it was a Nimoy tribute so soon after his death, but it ended Beyond with "remember the old crew again again again?" instead of "Fuck yeah, our guys!"

    No more baddies from Earth's past. Beyond is when they finally explore and find... angry ex-Starfleet people.
     
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  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm with MsP on this one, I do think with #2 they did a good job of building of carrying themes/relationships between films for the most part.

    I do think Into Darkness was a step backward for Kirk and Spock, and just repeated the Spock-Uhura romantic frustrations from the 2009 film, however, by the end of that film, Kirk was finally a more mature leader and it stuck, Spock had mostly resolved his survivors's guilt over Vulcan, and the relationship between Spock and Uhura was on surer footing (though honestly I do need to look at Beyond again to see where they were at relationship wise. I don't recall them arguing much in that film).

    Into Darkness did pick up from the 2009 film and present a more militaristic Starfleet in response to Nero, and that made sense. In Beyond, Kirk's self-doubt felt organic also unique to this universe. It felt like they were taking advantage of the uniqueness of their rebooted universe with that character turn and I liked it.

    The other points I agree with, without reservation.
     
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  5. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Commodore Commodore

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    At the time STID came out I liked the concept of having to humble Kirk because I felt they gave him the chair too soon. However, in retrospect, that just meant Kirk had to go through the same arc all over again with gaining the captain’s chair and now I wish they had just set the film later with Kirk having gained much more experience, rather than a mere year later where he didn’t seem to have learned much during that time (despite the film coming out four years later, ironically). Seeing Pine’s Kirk fully formed as a commander in BEYOND was a welcomed change and I wish we could have gotten more of that Kirk in these films.
     
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  6. pst

    pst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    aside from this hot take (linking is does not imply endorsement), the takeaway is don't mismanage your franchises, paramount. these were generally good movies released by an indifferent and/or incompetent studio.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Lessons? Movies are expensive and hard to make...
     
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  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Distributors shouldn't actively try and sabotage their content creators.
     
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  9. nutshell

    nutshell Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think the OP is spot on.
     
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  10. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    The only real takeaway is branding is important.
     
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  11. c0rnedfr0g

    c0rnedfr0g Commodore Commodore

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    Funny how we refer to it as the Kelvin Universe when really, it didn't feel like there was an entire universe out there. And by that, what I mean is that we saw so little of the actual nearly-infinite locations that the Kelvin Universe seemed somewhat contained and small in scope, even if production-wise the films were large in scope. Maybe I'm not making much sense here but we only saw a little bit of Vulcan, Qo'noS, lots of Earth, a few other planets, but due to screentime and plot devices they all seemed so near to each other that the Kelvin Universe didn't feel as vast and mysteriously wondrous as the Prime Universe. The fans deserved a lot more of this Kelvin Universe to avoid it being an expensive, 6+ hour footnote in Trek history.
     
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  12. StalwartUK

    StalwartUK Commander Red Shirt

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    In the beginning what we now call the "Kelvin timeline" was meant to be THE timeline. "Prime" was dead and apart from the odd novel or comic all future trek films/series would be in this new rebooted universe.

    But then the "kelvin" merch was unpopular and ended up taking up precious shelf space unsold, not to mention the lukewarm response it got from many fans. Meanwhile the "prime" stuff kept selling. No wonder CBS kept it going despite Bad Robot wanting them to pull ALL the "old" Trek merch off the shelves (no doubt since they didn't get paid anything from "old" trek sales).

    Overall the Kelvin timeline in the end proved to be a bit of a dud. STID for instance was littered with references to the past (Khan, Klingons, Tribbles, Section 31) and borrowed multiple scenes from TWOK, not to mention the whole "mystery box" crap about the identity of KHAAAAAN.

    "Beyond" did try and managed to fix some of the issues with the previous film but overall it was a case of too little, too late. Bit of a shame really as it probably made the best use of the cast out of all three of the films and felt the most "Star Trek-y" out of the bunch. Also avoiding the old Earth under attack spiel gives it an extra point in my book. Even the references didn't feel so contrived.

    Still it all kept Trek going and brought in a new generation of Trekkies who wouldn't have taken an interest in it otherwise so it wasn't all that bad.
     
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  13. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Uhm... not sure this is what happened and what the box office results of the movies, DVD sales, as well as the success of the kelvin comics compared to the prime trek ones, really suggest.

    If hiring Kurtzman, of all the people, is a hint I think discovery would be the honest spin off of the kelvin timeline that they wanted it to be if only they were allowed to. But they are stuck having to retcon the prime timeline instead, and they now have to insert familiar characters like Pike and Spock to try to get more fans/audience on board.
    (And call me bad, but saved for his voice, no one can convince me that new Spock wasn't cast with the goal of looking more familiar to Quinto-Spock fans )

    The studio is dumb for not taking full advantage of the success of their own thing, but this doesn't mean we gotta pretend that this trek was a flop.
     
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  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It wasn't so much that Kelvin merch was unpopular, as someone expected Star Wars-level merchandise absorption and they were very, very wrong.

    The Playmates 2009 Enterprise was their bestseller, and was quite awesome.
     
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  15. saddestmoon

    saddestmoon Captain Captain

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    I picked up most of the Kelvin playmates merch - and would have picked up any new electronic starship they might have produced (USS Kelvin, Shuttle, Vengeance, Narada, etc) as well as any of the unproduced second wave of figures (Kirk in skydiving suit, etc).

    To this day, if it’s a Kelvinverse merch of any brand, I’l try and acquire it!
     
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  16. saddestmoon

    saddestmoon Captain Captain

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    I should also add: the playmates 09 Kelvinverse Enterprise 1701 starship takes pride of place amongst my lineup of DST / AA prime starships: it’s a fantastic toy, which was a great price at the time, and the lights / electronics still work perfectly fine (better than some of my DST counterparts, in a few examples).

    I wouldn’t choose to give it up, if I had to pair down my collection in some horrible Distopian starship collection purge event...
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  17. Kane_Steel

    Kane_Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The biggest mistake they made was the 4 year wait between Trek 2009 and STiD. All the momentum and goodwill that the 2009 film had garnered was disappearing when STiD hit
     
  18. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Don't wait four years. Period.
     
  19. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The comics were quite successful too. They went well past the first 60 issues they were supposed to have and the only reason you don't have new ones now is because the writer needs to know about what are the plans for the future..
     
  20. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You are no doubt spot on with that, and add to that the fact that Beyound seemed almost invisible promotion wise over here in the UK, well to me anyway, i think i say a Yt trailer for the movie and that was it, i don't ever remember it being promoted in a big way, which was odd as it was also the 50th anni of Trek, which i might add also seemed to be not a big deal, was the 50th anni a big thing in the states?
     
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