When it comes to movies receiving unwanted “digital enhancements,” one tends to think of George Lucas and his numerous CGI updates to the original Star Wars trilogy. However, other filmmakers have dabbled in adding new effects to their old work, including Lucas’ friend and frequent collaborator, Steven Spielberg.
For the 20th anniversary of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial back in 2002, Spielberg re-released the film with additional scenes and altered shots, and caught flak from some fans for his decision to remove guns from the F.B.I. agents’ hands and replace them with walkie-talkies. Speaking with Screen Rant last week at SXSW, where his latest film, Ready Player One, was screened, Spielberg said he regrets making the switch in E.T. and vowed to never digitally enhance any of his classic films again:
“Well, I got in trouble for doing that. When E.T. was re-released, I actually digitized 5 shots where E.T. went from being a puppet to a digital puppet and I also replaced the gun when the F.B.I. runs up on the van, now they walkie talkies. So there’s a really bad version of E.T. where I took my cue from Star Wars and all of the digital enhancements of A New Hope that George put in, and I went ahead, because the marketing at Universal thought we need something to get an audience back and see the movie so I did a few touch up in the film, and in those days, social media wasn’t as profound as it is today but what was just beginning, you know, erupted a loud, negative voice about how could you ruin our favorite childhood film by taking the guns away and putting walkie-talkies in their hands among other things. So I learned a big lesson and that’s the last time I decided to ever mess with the past. What’s done is done, and um, I’ll never go back and do another movie I’ve made and I have control over to enhance or change.”
In other words, no need to worry about Spielberg ever going back and replacing Indiana Jones’ gun with a water pistol in the famous gun kill scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Spielberg’s latest, Ready Player One, hits theaters on March 30.
Source: Screen Rant
Follow me on Twitter at Nick_Steinberg.