JJ Abrams On Star Trek Into Darkness: Intense But Not Unrelentingly Dark

Star Trek Into Darkness director JJ Abrams has spoken in surprising depth about the Star Trek sequel to Japanese site GyaO! (in a video that isn’t being streamed outside of Japan but which has been handily translated by Trek Movie).

Some mild (new) spoilers ahead:

“This movie doesn’t require you have seen the first movie,” says Abrams. “The characters are a group of people who have recently come together and find themselves up against this incredibly terrifying force. His name is John Harrison and he is sort of an average guy who works in an organization called Starfleet – that is what makes him so scary – and he turns against the group because he has got this back-story and this kind of amazing secret agenda. After two very violent attacks, one in London and one in the US, our characters have to go after this guy and apprehend him. And it is a far more complicated and difficult thing then they ever anticipated. Into Darkness is very much about how intense it gets and really what they are up against.”

But despite that plot description, and the film’s title, Abrams emphasises that the film is not unrelentingly grim, grim, grim…

“I love movies that are big. I’m unabashedly a huge fan of big pop mass appeal movies. I do love that. I love being in a theatre packed with people and everyone gasping at the same time and having that communal experience. I don’t like going to the movies to feel bad. I don’t like going to the movies to feel depressed and feel diminished. The reason you go to the movies is to feel bigger and stronger and happier. So this is a movie that they certainly go ‘into darkness,’ but I would be the wrong director if it was about characters staying there. This is very much a movie about hope, about love, about romance, and about facing something that is truly terrifying and finding a way through the connection of your family and surviving and being stronger afterwards.”

He also speaks some more about being a born again 3D zealot. “I had never done anything in 3D and frankly it was a format that scared me a little bit because I really loved the sort of purity of the 2D. But I have to say – especially because we filmed in IMAX – doing a conversion to 3D with some new techniques with people who have done amazing conversion work on movies like Titanic, has actually opened up some doors to some really creative and really fun moments. So I am becoming a little bit of a convert to it.” Additionally, he defends his use of lens flares and comments on how it works in the conversion.

As for his infamous love of lens flare? “It actually works pretty well in conversion.”

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