Simon Pegg's NSFW defense of J.J. Abrams' controversial lens flare

Geek of the people, slayer of the zombie horde, and the man who would be Scotty, Simon Pegg has a bone to pick with critics ... and he's not holding back.

In a recent interview, Pegg lashed out against online critics for repeatedly attacking a directorial choice that he found brilliant -- the infamous lens flares. Holding back isn't exactly Pegg's style, so rather than playing it calm and collected, he decided it was better to give an unequivocally blistering indictment. The question was "Who made the first joke about lens flares?"

Probably some film student who wanted to demonstrate his or her knowledge of film terminology, thus elevating themselves to an assumed level of critical superiority, which gave them the kind of smug, knowing smile that indicates a festering sour grape, fizzing in the pit of their own ambition. It’s become a sort of communal stick to have a crack at JJ with, mostly by people who didn’t know what the f--k lens flare was, until someone started sneering the term all over their blog. It demonstrates JJ’s supreme talent as a film maker that the main means of knocking him is to magnify a throw away artistic choice, into some sort of hilarious failing. Lens flare is essentially an anomaly caused by light hitting the lens and creating refracted shapes. Because it draws attention to the fact that we are looking at a filmed event, it actually creates a subliminal sense of documentary realism and makes the moment more vital and immediate. In the same way Spielberg spattered his shots with bloody seawater in Saving Private Ryan, JJ suggests that the moment we are in is so real and alive, there just isn’t time to frame out all the light and activity. The irony is by acknowledging the film’s artifice, you are enhancing the reality of the moment. It’s clever and I love it. On set we call it ‘best in show’ and our amazing director of photography, Dan Mindel has a special technique to achieve it. To the detractors, I offer a polite f--k you and suggest you find a new stick to beat us with, if being a huge, boring neggyballs is necessary for your personal happiness.

Wow! Tell us how you really feel!

Okay. Full confession -- the comparison with Spielberg's pseudo-documentarian style had not occurred to us. And it's an interesting one. We're just not sure we agree.

There's a certain intuitiveness to Saving Private Ryan's cinematography. Our brains subconsciously process that bloody seawater as gritty realism because most of us have spent some time in the ocean and, well, we've all bled. So there's an experiential element there.

Conversely, the lens flares of Star Trek are based on pseudo-science in a maybe future. We don't really have places like the bridge of a starship in real life from which we can draw a comparison. That almost muscle-memory-like intuitive understanding isn't present, so, until the concept is explained, the audience might not get it. And that's sort of like having to explain a joke, isn't it?

We wholeheartedly agree that the "lens flares = bad filmmaking" argument doesn't hold much water. But we're not sure that questioning the value of those lens flares makes someone a "boring neggyballs" either.

But maybe that's just us. What do you think?

(via Collider)