Mission: Impossible 3, Star Trek, Super 8, and Star Trek Into Darkness; what do these movies have in common? Aside from being directed by J.J. Abrams, they all have a certain look and feel that boils down to the use of multiple lens flares. For most directors and cinematographers, a lens flare is a mistake in lighting a scene, but for J.J. Abrams, it’s essential to his style of filmmaking. But now Abrams has admitted he may have gone overboard with the whole lens flare thing.
In an interview with Crave Online, Abrams talks about his addiction to lens flares, and apologizes to fans for it:
“I know I get a lot of grief for that,” says Abrams. “But I’ll tell you, there are times when I’m working on a shot, I think, ‘Oh this would be really cool… with a lens flare.’ But I know it’s too much, and I apologize. I’m so aware of it now. I was showing my wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness and there was this one scene where she was literally like, ‘I just can’t see what’s going on. I don’t understand what that is.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I went too nuts on this.'”
Although Abrams knows that people give him grief for having so many distracting lens flares in his movies, he actually goes into post-production looking to take some of them out of his films. Abrams says, “This is how stupid it was. I actually had to use ILM [Industrial Light & Magic] to remove lens flare in a couple of shots, which is, I know, moronic. But I think admitting you’re an addict is the first step towards recovery.”
Since J.J. Abrams’ fetish for lens flares is almost to the point of parody, don’t be surprise if he sneaks some into Star Wars: Episode VII. He’s already walking on a tightrope to please Disney, Lucasfilm, and Star Wars fans, so he really shouldn’t open himself up to more criticism with the addition of lens flares
Abrams’ penchant for lens flares is very distracting when watching his films. His movies are already so quick paced and action packed that sometimes you get taken out of the film by the sheer fact you’re being blinded with bursts of light on the screen. It was the worst in Star Trek Into Darkness because of the addition of 3D to the film. Let’s just hope J.J. Abrams keeps his love for lens flares to a minimum for all of his future movies.
Star Trek Into Darkness, in all of its lens-flaring glory, is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.