Lessons to be learned from the Kelvin Universe Films

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

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  1. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I understand what you are saying, but I don't believe that is the character they created. He's more mature, but still needs to grow a reason to stay in that chair. He doesn't ever get one, just is happy he saved Yorktown, again, and so he'll stay. If you can identify a reason, outside of liking his crew and saving the universe, for why he's not on Yorktown, I'd like to hear it. He is no closer to overcoming his father's death. He is stagnant throughout these films. He has glimpses of growth but it's paper-thin.

    I'd like to hear why he is disillusioned and not bored.
     
  2. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    He's questioning the point of them being out there all this time when space is infinite at the beginning of the film. I'd say that's disillusionment.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's spelled out by McCoy in the movie: "You spent all this time trying to be your father. Now you're wondering what it is to be you."

    Essentially it's him realising life is the journey and not the destination, because there will never true end to their mission of exploration.

    Although you are correct his daddy issues are never fully dealt with; that was the plan for the aborted fourth movie which would have somehow brought them face-to-face.
     
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  4. dswynne1

    dswynne1 Captain Captain

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    My take:

    1) Have a "roadmap". Plan out your movie franchise, but always be prepared to scuttle those plans if you can't make it past the first film.
    2) Maintain a tight budget, and be creative about it.
    3) If you are going to use nostalgia, be clever about it.

    That is all.
     
  5. Rahul

    Rahul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This entire thread seems to be weirdly fascinated with franchise management. I don't care about that.I care about what's in the movies.

    So here are my Lessons to be learned from the Kelvin Universe films (content):
    1. Bright colors DO work in Star Trek! It doesn't have to be all Berman-era/DIS-grey, it can be funky bright!
    2. Characters can be charming humans and feel like real people in Star Trek! They don't have to be boring talking-heads or be dicks towards each other all the time.
    3. People love aliens, monsters, robots, ray-guns and all that weird sci-fi stuff! Keep that in!
    4. DON'T destroy fucking planets! You will NEVER be able to top that once you've done that once!
    5. If your antagonist is a character - show his face! (Nero, Khan). If you're facing a force of nature villain (swarm) - an actor with a thick latex-mask is not a good choice
    6. The Narada makes no sense - yet everyone loves it. Cool fucking designs go a long way! You're doing aliens! Go nuts with your designs!
    7. Try to understand what "Starfleet" actually is. It's not "the" military. It's a military-like structured organization, but overall, the feel should be more like NASA or 18th century explorers (like traditional Trek does)
    8. Star Trek battles don't work like dogfights, and will never be able to match Star Wars or Comicbook movies. Go for suspense. Watch some submarine and naval battle movies to get inspired.
    9. The main story should be the exploration of a sci-fi concept. It can include a "villain" for general audiences. But the villain shouldn't be the focus of the story. ST09 worked, because it was a "team coming together story" more than a "save the universe" story. But both Into Darkness and Beyond felt like lesser "defeat-the-badguy" MARVEL movie stories that ended once the badguy bit the dust. Instead, end your movie with the heroes "solving the puzzle".
    10. People still care for Star Trek, with all it's tropes and "outdated" optimism. Go for it. You don't need to re-invent the wheel. Just update and refine it.
    That should be it. The major flaw of the Kelvin movies was the story each time, because it didn't make a lot of sense. But these movies got a LOT right! In fact, having a good SF-story, told in the same style as the Kelvin movies, would IMO be the perfect Star Trek formula!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  6. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Because he lacks a reason to keep him in the chair. A higher sense of purpose. He is still a rebel without a cause, crashing a car into a canyon after a joyride. Which means, he hasn't grown.

    A real-world example: as a man who works a menial job as a stock person and cashier, on days I don't want to do the boring tasks I remember my life without a job. I remember the gifts of freedom (even to fail) and Democracy handed to me, the inventions and discoveries, the responsibility to hand this to the next generation, whether I have kids, or not. It was given to me through hard-work and sacrifice and blood. "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" is my last vision on the way out the door. There is a speech I am drawn towards: We honor (soldiers) not only because they are the guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service. A willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves....It is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all! For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination upon which this nation depends.

    Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends--honesty and hard-work, courage and fair-play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism--these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

    So let us mark this day with rememberance of who we are, and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months a small band of Patriots huddled on the banks of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our Revolution was most in-doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

    "Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger came forth to meet it!"

    Let us remember these timeless words. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end. That we did not turn back nor did we falter, and with eyes fixed on the horizon, and God's Grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations!"

    I am just one man in a society birthed by the Enlightenment. An experiment in governments. The rest of the world was not lucky enough to be born there. It is my duty to help, to keep our values, and one of them is to work hard, consistently.

    I have bills to pay, roommates to help, and dreams to fulfill. But, the fact is, that isn't the only reason to get out of bed. I have to play my role in this society. And, if that means picking up an extra shift, cutting back on power, volunteering on a campaign, so be it.

    And this patriotism is an ideal, a necessary channeling of energies, when I don't feel like doing it. It can be God, it can be patriotism, the Enlightenment, family, lineage, making the world a better place, or in Star Trek's case--exploration.

    These maps will be used for the rest of time..His "disillusionment" is because there's no thrill in the dutiful, hard-work, discipline, and consistency necessary to commit to any task. He's without a purpose. It means he never channeled it into exploration, and, therefore, he is lost unless saving the Enterprise and crew and world or universe. That is the joyride, which is why "Sabotage" plays over the swarm being destroyed.

    So, again, why wouldn't Kirk, the protector, not agree with Krall, that we need a military, leave exploration behind, and stop being an explorer? Even if he doesn't agree with his methods?

    By the end of the film he is no closer. Two months from now, while mapping a star system, he'll be bored, again.

    Again, not enough growth.
     
  7. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    [nerd hat]

    Speaking of lessons to be learned.

    GrdCynYellowstone.jpg

    Canyon

    (Note the irregular watercourse and sides shaped by natural erosion patterns.)

    ELSmith_quarry.jpg

    Quarry (E.L. Smith "Rock of Ages" granite quarry, Vermont - used for Star Trek sequence)

    (Note the very regular sides, precisely shaped by man-made processes.)

    Compare:

    Bealer_quarry_Iowa.png

    Bealer Quarry (limestone quarry in Cedar County, Iowa - only a few miles from Riverside - pictured circa 1906)

    Quarry1.png quarry2.png

    Vermont quarry (note regular sides showing evidence of deliberate machine processes) digitally inserted into "Iowa" landscape (screencaps from movie)

    See also:

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Quarry

    *************************************************
    Sorry to rattle on, but it just bothers me a wee bit that — ten years down the road, and as supposedly detail-oriented Star Trek fans — we're still having trouble distinguishing between natural landscape features* and artificial ones. I hope this can be useful.



    * Credit where credit is due: at least we don't seem to be talking about "Teh Grand Canyon transplanted to Iowa™ took me right out of teh movie!!!1one" quite as often now, so maybe we've made some progress, after all.


    [/nerd hat]
     
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  8. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's interesting. Thank you. I almost wrote ravine. "I love science!"

    That said, what did you take away from the rest of what I wrote?
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I love that part of '09 was filmed in the state I live in. :)
     
  10. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    That and "canyon" are words with different origins describing the same thing.

    A lot of it read like oratory. Looking again, I see that significant portions were indeed quoted from a speech, though that wasn't immediately obvious on the first pass. Use italics or indentation to set those bits off more clearly, perhaps.

    I don't think I disagree with the point you were making, but it might have been at least as effective if put more directly and succinctly.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Because he knows that isn't what Starfleet is about, even if he isn't certain of his place within it.
     
  12. pst

    pst Commodore Commodore

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    that's definitely a read on the film, but i don't think that's what the filmmakers were trying to convey.

    you were totally right that a plot in which kirk is tempted by the dark side would be an interesting (more nuanced) one, but that's just not this film. both kirk and krall's faith are lost during the events of star trek beyond, but kirk regains his faith and purpose through the strength of his crew as a family. krall similarly gathers strength from others (like literally), but never understands the meaning of that strength, his view is distorted by hate. i really don't see krall really being someone kirk would be tempted by. kirk's going through something similar enough to empathize with krall, but kirk's experience allows him to see the folly of krall's conclusions, where krall's been blinded by his own hypocrisy.

    and kirk won't backslide into disillusionment because by the end of beyond, he's stepped out of the shadow of his father. he makes the choice not to stay at yorktown but to go back out there with his crew/family and boldly go and all that. it's simplistic (and probably someone can dig deeper into the themes than i have), but i think that's basically what we get with this trilogy.
     
  13. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Krall only had a dynamic of sorts with Uhura, not Kirk. She is the one who represents starfleet and challenges his ideas a bit, but they didn't develop his character enough to truly use this aspect and make him a layered villain.
    He could've killed her asap but he respects her because in her own merit she is a 'soldier' like him (just the scene where he asks her why she sacrificed herself for her captain and she matter of fact replies 'he would've done the same'), she bits back when he attacks and she constantly is a voice describing what starfleet is. At one point I got the impression he wanted to make her see things his way and destroy starfleet to her, perhaps because she made him a bit insecure about his own prejudices about starfleet.

    Uhura was a leader. It has to be noted that Uhura wasn't in a better context than Kirk in that moment, either. She had all the reasons to feel hopeless and disillusioned as much if not even more than him. Before their ship was destroyed, the vulcan diaspora was ruining her life and that of the man she loved (and it would be too easy, but useless, to blame starfleet for letting Nero destroy vulcan ), she probably was homesick herself and then the ship got destroyed and she was stuck on that planet with a guy who was killing her fellow crew members to make his life longer. On top of that, she didn't know if Spock and the others were even alive and if they could help them. Yet, Uhura seems to keep her cool and stay focused, and not lose hope or her faith in starfleet and thus what she is part of. She has no regrets.

    Structurally, Uhura gets the subplot that the protagonist usually gets..and yet, ironically, both her and the villain are sidelined. Krall had potential but it isn't used precisely because he doesn't interact with Kirk or even Spock, and since the creative team is obsessed about having a male hero at any cost they give most of the screentime to transition scenes with Kirk that yet don't help really develop his character and thus his conflict. Same happens with Spock whose conflict seems to become just a pretext to give Mccoy screentime, but still the latter has no character arc of his own (that could be fixed if he were allowed to know that his best friend wanted to quit and thus express his feelings about that, rather than just talking about how lost Kirk would be if Spock left..which effectively makes everything about those two. Same goes for his comments about spock/uhura: they are are a pretext to give him screentime with Spock but they aren't functional giving him a story and any real character development)

    In short, the movie has issues developing the characters and the writers/director didn't have a clear vision. It seems like they start many interesting subplots all at once, but don't really develop them. I also think that those who were captured by Krall, and thus spent time at his base, were the ones with more potential for an interesting subplot but the creative team sidelined them because they aren't Kirk. They wrote themselves into a corner by putting the 'pare the spares', Uhura and Sulu, at the base because they wanted to give screentime to the old school bros ..but they effectively wasted one of the things that had potential that, ironically, was the context where Uhura and Sulu were. The consequence of that also is a villain that could have been interesting but he's the weakest of the trilogy.
     
  14. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I believe the villians in this trilogy to be lacking. V'Ger was searching for purpose after completing its mission to learn all that it is capable of understanding. Khan was bent on revenge, but his cat-mouse game with Kirk and crew exposed his arrogance, his fatal flaw. Kruge was the most like these villians but managed to stay away from the tortured logic:

    --Nero: You changed the timeline--Romulus may never face this critical threat, and more assuredly YOUR WIFE WILL NEVER BE BORN! Seek revenge against yourself!


    --Khan: I love crew like family! Here's a popsicle casket of dynamite, brother and sister! I shall smuggle you in the weapons OUR CAPTOR wants REALLY BAD! COMMITTED MUTINY AND BETRAYED STARFLEET, HERE'S YOUR FROZEN "SAFETY" CASKET! I love my family! Oh, the sticks of dynamite exploded? Who saw that coming! My crew died after I put them in stasis around 4 tons of dynamite! Kirk! Spock! I will have my revenge! :brickwall:

    So, Krall is the creme of this crop. As flawed as he is.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    I'm glad people like Krall, but he was not as engaging to me, save towards the end. Give me Nero and Khan over Krall.
     
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  16. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yep. I find Krall is a weak, wasted, villain. He had potential but like I said above, he was sidelined and just comes across as a crazy guy. His actions make more sense in their nonsense if you think he simply lost his mind. Nero was like that too, however he was more interesting and effective as a villain to me because you understand the circumstances that made him lose his mind. I can understand he was a good guy turned bad because grief made him like that (knowing that romulans experience extreme feelings like the vulcans minus the control), his pov was more real for me and his actions have bigger consequences. I wonder if Spock sometimes feared his people would turn in their own version of Nero after the vulcan diaspora. No logic or discipline could ever make the vulcans ready to face a tragedy that is just too big.

    Khan also had a motivation if you think about what they did to him and his people.
    I have to say, both him and Krall have moments where it seemed like they could become allies of kirk&Co, but both movies shy away from this plot twist and prefer keeping them as conventional villains instead. Krall for example seemed to allegorically find back his humanity as his physical appearance was gradually getting back to his original form...for a moment in the end he looked at Kirk and it seemed like he'd change his mind and sacrifice himself to save yorktown. .but nope, gotta be a bad guy till the end.
     
  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Nero fascinated because he was just a regular guy who endured a huge tragedy and had the opportunity to make it right, in his mind. But, he felt very real due to his grief and traumatic experience.

    This is true. Krall was definitely set up to have that potential twist and it was completely wasted. Khan, for his weaknesses, does work with Kirk for a time due to a mutual enemy in Marcus.
     
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  18. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    exactly. The fact he's a time traveler also adds the intrigue of knowing a Nero might exist in the kelvin timeline too but he may never become that bad guy. He doesn't have to end up as the same exact guy precisely because it's circumstances that made him like that.
    Assuming Spock Prime found a way to tell the romulans that their planet might be too doomed to get destroyed by a supernova eventually, romulans should have enough time here to make a plan B and thus effectively save their people. Kelvin Nero may never experience the grief and loss that made prime Nero like he was, he might totally end up like a regular guy who works on a mining ship and has a wife and kid waiting at home for him, however that home will be different.

    funny thing is I read Pegg (I think it was him? Jung was rarely interviewed) saying that they totally thought about that but changed their mind because they wanted to give him more integrity as a villain.
    Krall has potential but he really honestly seems to be just a one-layer guy who lost his mind. I don't think he could suddenly become a good guy in the end, you cannot just forget about his crimes.. but he could've had a moment of awakening and at least understand how foolish he had been and thus sacrifice himself. There are aspects of his circumstances that are not clear to me, I'm not sure he really had no other choice and he needed to hate starfleet and Kirk&Co. And I'm not so convinced all his energy and efforts couldn't have been used to, you know, save himself and his crew once he got the chance to contact starfleet, hack their communications and get to yorktown.

    The Khan thing is kind of disconnected too. In the end, neither him nor Kirk&co had reasons to consider each other real enemies.. and the real villain was, in fact, admiral Marcus. I guess Khan betrayed Kirk because he realized Kirk hadn't really trusted him and was ready to betray him once they got to Marcus.. but still....
    He also didn't know that, of course, but Spock had saved his crew (that was one of my fav bits from stid that acting captain Spock doesn't want to sacrifice Khan's crew and he actually asks Uhura and McCoy to protect these people)
    I guess with Khan even if he could be an ally he'd always be a dangerous person that they couldn't fully trust. He was still too instanble and he was like that because of the circumstances he was in and what he had experienced, in a way they made him like that.
     
  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    With Khan I always read it as him proving his point to Kirk that he is superior. Kirk may not really be an enemy but he disrespected Khan and "betrayed" him. Give Khan's megalomania I would say that Khan simply regarded Kirk as a means to an end, and very disposable.
     
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  20. Malaika

    Malaika Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    yeah, it could also be a matter of Khan only really trusting his 'family' and he will never trust others.
    Spock (who saw Khan's true colors before he even talked with his prime self and had a confirmation ) hated him in the end, yet he still saved his crew and thus his 'family'..something Khan wouldn't have done. He saved Kirk, Uhura and Spock against the klingons only because they were a means to get to his crew. Same goes for the little girl: he only saved her because he wanted to use his dad (that was one of the most cruel things in the movie for me. Who wouldn't understand that man wanting to save his little girl at any cost?)
     
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