Among the many responses to our article on the 20 Most Cringeworthy Star Trek Film Moments, one of the most common was "What about the J.J. Abrams movies? What about all the scenes that embarrass us when we show those movies to non-fan friends?" (Actually, the most common responses were about our lack of a sense of humour and our questionable parentage, making us wonder whether those people knew the article was meant to be for fun). There are two very good reasons why the first list did not include the alternate universe movies: 1) the Classic Trek and Next Gen movies easily filled up our twenty slots; and 2) the New Trek movies warrant a list all on their own - and that's with only two of them. As was the case with the first list, your mileage may vary - what makes one person cringe will make another fall to the floor with laughter. One thing is entirely for certain though, no one can deny just how worthy these moments are for this list. These are some of the moments that induce severe shoulder cramps and a desire to go do something more enjoyable. Oral surgery, for instance.
20. Lens Flare From Star Trek And Star Trek Into Darkness
Less of a specific cringeworthy moment and more of an ongoing continuum of them, lens flare is one of the many new things that J.J. Abrams has introduced into the Star Trek universe. It's hardly a new cinematic device, having been used in many earlier movies such as Easy Rider to enhance dramatic effect. When used sparingly, it does. When used in every single shot, it gets distracting, and it drains the drama right out of otherwise moving scenes, such as Carol Marcus' confrontation with her daddy in the second movie. (And no, the image above is not photoshopped - that's how much flare it's got.) We're reminded of Jennifer Aniston's boss in Office Space advising her that she needed "more flair" - it's advice that Abrams has, sadly, taken to heart, and it makes us cringe every time. Reportedly, Abrams' own wife complained about the amount of flare in the second movie, so much so that he is now considering toning it down. If your own wife says you're flaring too much, though, it's probably a good idea to cut it out.
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Tony Whitt has previously written TV, DVD, and comic reviews for CINESCAPE, NOW PLAYING, and iF MAGAZINE. His weekly COMICSCAPE columns from the early 2000s can still be found archived on Mania.com. He has also written a book of gay-themed short stories titled CRESCENT CITY CONNECTIONS, available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format. Whitt currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.