One of this summer’s biggest hits was the J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Trek Into Darkness, and though it was a fun movie, it had a couple of problems in execution and marketing. But if those things are keeping you up at night you can now sleep well as J.J. Abrams has apologized for basically all of them over the last few months.
For example, remember when Abrams and the rest of the creative team spent months telling us Benedict Cumberbatch was definitely not playing Khan? You know, just straight-up lying to our faces and telling us he was a new villain named John Harrison and definitely not Khan? And then he ended up being Khan?
In a recent interview with MTV Abrams admitted that lying about Khan’s identity in the film was probably a mistake, possibly only just now realizing the difference between keeping a secret and blatantly lying to the public. You can check out the video on MTV, but here’s the money quote of the whole thing:
“The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was. The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.”
There are arguments to be made for both sides of this marketing strategy. Personally I love secrets and surprises in my sci-fi, but am less thrilled about straight up lying to the fans.
Moving on! The second and more sexist problem with Star Trek 2 that people are sorry for is the utterly unnecessary scene of Dr. Marcus stripping down to her sexy underwear in front of Kirk for … oh yeah, no reason whatsoever other than the fact that they needed a half-naked woman to show in the commercials.
The whole scene was blatantly gratuitous, but at least head producer and writer Damon Lindelof agrees it was poorly done and promises to “be more mindful in the future” as supported by these screenshots from Lindelof’s Twitter account back in May:
Lindelof then followed up with an email to MTV on the same topic.
“Why is Alice Eve in her underwear, gratuitously and unnecessarily, without any real effort made as to why in God’s name she would undress in that circumstance? Well there’s a very good answer for that. But I’m not telling you what it is. Because… uh… MYSTERY?”
Abrams hasn’t so much apologized for this one though and has instead gone on to say he should have edited the scene better (maybe in a way where a brilliant female scientist doesn’t get naked in front of her commanding officer for no reason during the middle of a mission, just a thought). He even defended the whole thing on Conan, pointing out that they filmed a shirtless Khan scene that got cut and also saying that since Kirk was shirtless in a scene in the privacy of his bedroom, it’s okay for the only new female character to strip down in front of everyone. We’ll just file this one away under “missing the point.”
To top off this cake of Star Trek apologies, these admissions all come a few months after an interview with Crave Online where Abrams finally apologized for all the damn lens flare in the movies!
Fans have been saying for years that the lens flares we’ve been squinting through are a bit much, and Abrams has finally come to agree. He even went so far as to admit that on watching the cut of Star Trek 2 he realized he was a lens flare addict and had to get Industrial Light and Magic to remove some of the lens flare because he went too crazy with it. That’s right, Star Trek 2 was almost all one giant, unwatchable flare shot. To quote:
“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.'”
“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.”
Yeah, tell it to our retinas.