Even JJ Abrams Thinks JJ Abrams Uses Too Much Lens Flare
So the hackiest joke to make about JJ Abrams would be that he uses too much lens flare, and it's really only hacky because he uses SO MUCH LENS FLARE. The bridge of the Enterprise looks straight up radioactive in some scenes in Star Trek Into Darkness, and he never found a light source he didn't want to point directly into his anamorphic lens. It turns out that even Abrams thinks he uses too much lens flare, and he apologizes for it. Talking to Crave Online, Abrams said:
"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," J.J. Abrams added. "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 so fascinated by this guy! By the whole post-Star Trek Into Darkness apology tour, in fact. Here's a movie that was a reasonable hit and every conversation about it - even from the people who made it, including Karl Urban, Damon Lindelof and now Abrams - has been about how they could have made it better. Even the people who made this movie seem to not have liked it (this quote comes from the same night when Abrams said the weirdest thing he's ever said, that the video game tie-in somehow hurt his movie. I don't even know what to make of that, except that it's an admission something is fundamentally wrong with his movie).
Part of this is also surely to let Star Wars fans know he's not going to saturate Episode VII with his aesthetic. We're not going to see flares coming off every surface in Luke's new apartment.
For more on the strange apologies and distancing happening post-STIDhttp://popwatch.ew.com/2013/09/19/star-trek-into-darkness-jj-abrams/, read this excellent EW piece.