There’s probably no faster way to rile up a geek than mentioning George Lucas redoing the hallowed Star Wars trilogy.
Fans want to see their favorite movies the way they remember them, and yet at the same time, you can understand a filmmaker’s point of view when they watch their own films and see a million mistakes they wished they could correct.
Of course, with so many special edition DVDs and Blu-Rays, filmmakers can now put out different versions of their work. For example, there was even a writer’s cut of The Exorcist that included the ending William Peter Blatty originally wanted.
Long before Lucas tinkered with his movies, you may recall there was Close Encounters: The Special Edition with extra footage at the end, and Spielberg also did some tinkering with the re-release of E.T. in 2002.
As the L.A. Times reported, there was even talk of redoing parts of the original Jaws in 3D, which would cause an enormous geek revolt if that ever came to pass. Now in Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg addressed his past tinkering tendencies, telling the magazine he indeed regrets making alterations to E.T.
“When the movie comes out on Blu-ray, either we will package both versions for the same price – nobody has to pay any more money for the rejiggered version – or we will just bite the bullet and come out with the 1982 version.”
Of course not every movie ages gracefully, time can be a filmmaker’s best friend or worst enemy, but since reworking E.T., Spielberg has had time to ponder the implications of re-tweaking past work.
“My philosophy now is that every single movie is a signpost of its time,” he continued, “and it should stand for that. We shouldn’t go back and change the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments just because with different tools we can make that even more spectacular than it was.”
Good point. If you watch The Ten Commandments today, that segment still looks remarkable, especially considering how primitive special effects were back in the fifties. CGI certainly wouldn’t make the event any more spectacular, in fact, it would likely make the scene seem incredibly cheesy in comparison.
This is why the geeks, myself included, prefer old school effects, because you had to work a hell of a lot harder to pull something like that off. Whether a film is remembered years from now or remains long forgotten is up to the public, and no CGI band aids will change that.