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‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ 3D Was Not Part of the J.J. Abrams Plan

Star Trek Into Darkness J.J. Abrams
Paramount Pictures

“To 3D or not to 3D?” is a question moviegoers often have to ask themselves when hitting the multiplex to see the latest blockbuster, but the debate doesn’t stop at the paying customer. Sometimes it’s the filmmakers themselves who are dubious about the technology, even as they work with it. This issue has come to light after J.J. Abrams revealed that he himself was not sold on converting his latest, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ into 3D initially. In fact, he had it forced upon him by the studio.

In the latest edition of SFX (via Digital Spy), Abrams admits that Paramount Pictures gave him (what sounds like) no choice when it came to giving ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ a 3D makeover.

The studio said, “You have to make it in 3D if you’re going to make it, for economic reasons.” But my feeling was I didn’t like 3D. So the idea of doing ‘Star Trek’ in 3D was ridiculous.”

A rather significant disclosure. It’s shouldn’t come as a shock that studios enjoy 3D’s ability to inflate their box office revenue — especially overseas, where the format is just as popular, if not more than here — but it’s somewhat refreshing to read a filmmaker come right out and say it while promoting his 3D movie.

Abrams explains how he then came around on the technology.

I approached it very cynically. And the fact is that we’ve been using techniques that haven’t been used before in 3D. They’ve figured out things. They’ve made enough movies now with this new process that they can understand ways to eliminate some of these problems. Things like breaking shots into zones, 3D zones, using multiple virtual cameras. A lot of this has made me a believer, whereas before I was really against it… There’s this myth that if you don’t shoot the movie in 3D it doesn’t look good. Actually, the opposite can be true.”

Fair enough. We’ve seen almost all of Hollywood’s biggest players express their willingness, and even eagerness, to frolic in the 3D world (names like Scorsese and Spielberg come to mind, alongside the more obvious champions of the format like Cameron and Jackson), so you can add Abrams to the list now. However, quite tellingly, his final comment appears to maintain his preference for the traditional process:

The key for me is I got to make my 2D movie that I wanted to make, just the way I wanted to; and it gets to be augmented in 3D but that doesn’t detract from the 2D.”

Be sure to check out ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ in 3D or 2D on May 17th.

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