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J.J. Abrams Discusses Into Darkness‘ Flaws; Compares Star Wars to Ice Cream

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You’d think J.J. Abrams would be busy riding high on a Star Wars hype wave this week — and he probably is — but apparently a side effect of that hype wave is that now Abrams feels more comfortable admitting to the flaws in his previous films, especially Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Abrams has discussed the reservations he had about Into Darkness before, having told Wired a few months ago: “I remember starting to shoot Super 8 and Star Trek: Into Darkness and feeling like I hadn’t really solved some fundamental story problems.” In a long feature at Buzzfeed, Abrams elaborated further on that sentiment:

I take full responsibility for this — I was encouraging the writers in certain directions, and we were working on the script and putting it together. But by the time we started shooting, and this was literally at the very beginning of the shoot, there were certain things I was unsure of.

Any movie, any story has a fundamental conversation happening during it. There’s a fundamental argument; there’s a central question. And I didn’t have it.

Abrams also echoed the sentiments that his co-writer and producer Damon Lindelof recently shared about their decision to refuse to reveal that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Khan in the movie, but much of Abrams’ comments are more focused on his own disappointment about his failure to properly structure and guide the film’s narrative.

I felt like, in a weird way, it was a little bit of a collection of scenes that were written by my friends — brilliantly talented writers — who I somehow misled in trying to do certain things. And yet, I found myself frustrated by my choices, and unable to hang my hat on an undeniable thread of the main story. So then I found myself on that movie basically tap-dancing as well as I could to try and make the sequences as entertaining as possible …

I would never say that I don’t think that the movie ended up working. But I feel like it didn’t work as well as it could have had I made some better decisions before we started shooting.

Abrams also discussed The Force Awakens and the intense scrutiny faced by the new actors stepping into the spotlight — and the scrutiny he’ll face as the director of this new chapter for Star Wars. Perhaps the most endearing quote here is one in which he compares the Star Wars franchise to … ice cream.

The first time I ate a Dove Bar, one of those ice cream chocolate bars, it was a religious experience. It was the best thing I had ever had in my life! And I couldn’t believe that a taste like that, an experience like that, could exist in a food product. This was a long time ago, and I remember the experience was earth-shattering.

And the second time I had a Dove Bar — [pause] it was really good! But the first time changed the way I looked at the world, you know what I’m saying?

There’s no way it can be the first and best Star Wars movie. There’s no way it can be as good as what happened.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but … that seems like a surprisingly apt metaphor. I’m still excited to go eat this particular ice cream bar regardless, though.

(via io9, image via Buzzfeed)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).