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There are two natural reactions to hearing about a new J.J. Abrams project. One is to cock your head to the side and quietly ask, “Is Damon Lindelof involved?” And the other is to make at least three lens flare jokes. “What’s he gonna call Episode VII? The Lens Flare Strikes Back?” (Nobody said the jokes were funny.) But the era of flares may soon be coming to an end, as Abrams surprisingly noted that maybe enough was enough in a recent interview with CraveOnline, and apologized for being so overzealous with the gimmick in the past. I’m still waiting for a personal apology for killing off Charlie on Lost, but I’ll accept this one.
At the red carpet premiere for the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray release, Crave asked Abrams about his signature visual, and Abrams said, “I know I get a lot of grief for that. 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.’”
Personally, the lens flares don’t bother me in the least, but Into Darkness was the first film of his where I was actively taken out of the story due to nearly being blinded from the seemingly endless supply of flares.
Abrams didn’t just have the revelation on the red carpet either. He shared an instance where the realization became obvious. “This is how stupid it was,” he said. “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.” I'm pretty sure he'd be one of the only people in that rehab.
So does this mean Star Wars: Episode VII won’t have a single flare in it? I wouldn’t bet any Alliance credit on it. If nothing else, we can have faith that he and Doug Dorst’s upcoming novel S will be completely flare-free.
Want to see the ridiculous amount of flares used in his Star Trek reboot? Watch the video below.