Making a science fiction film, you obviously want to be taking people somewhere new. Making a Star Trek film, you obviously want to respect what has already been made… It’s such a fine line to be walking.
I love how period films can completely absorb you in a different era. Most period films, however, are set in the past. These sorts of films you’d find props in thrift stores and antique shops. Here, in a futurists film, everything is new. Everything is different. Every prop, every costume has to be made from scratch. Of course, the alternative is to create it all with CGI. Thankfully though, J.J Abrams didn’t want to do that. Instead these real life sets were crafted where possible. It gives the whole movie a much more real feel, something for us to believe in. Not only because the textures are more real, the depth is there, but because it gives the actors a real chance to engage with their surroundings.
For the first time in Star Trek, the ship had some continuity to it. Instead of having all the large rooms of the ship built separately, there was one large, flowing set. This allowed the characters to run from room to room and the ship made more sense than ever. It’s all these details that we really need to feel like we’re being transported out of this world. There were so many different specialists on set, right down to a food technician. Every scene had its futuristic kicks- lights in drinks, spherical ice. The effort is really quite mind blowing.
But you’ve continuously got those nods to the previous films. The base colours of the sets. The classic costume is so recognisable. But how do you create these Klingons, these characters that the fans have such a connection to already… Asking the fans is where it all started. That’s where the backlash is going to originate if it’s done wrong, so that’s where the art team started their research. Going to Comic Cons, asking people what they what to see from these characters. I think that’s the ultimate respect you can pay to the previous films, asking the fans to direct you. Letting their love for the films lead the next ones. It helps you stay grounded.
I know the film got a lot of criticism for this, but personally, I loved the lens flare.
To me, it’s so futuristic. This idea that the world is so bright, we can’t even capture it.