Revisionist Filmmaking: Spielberg is going Lucas on us.

Now, I'm not really the world's biggest ET fan, so this might come off as kind of reaching for a rant. But I'm pissed off. Severely pissed off. Pretty much it's just principle in this case - I'm not deeply, personally offended. For you see, Steven Spielberg is theatrically re-releasing the film ET for it's 20th Anniversary next March. Hey, that's cool - I have nothing against that. But this isn't just a simple 'clean-up the negative so it's all pretty and digitally remaster the soundtrack' re-release. This is one of those "Special Edition" re-releases. Yup. Spielberg is going Lucas on us.

Back in 1997 George Lucas made a shitload of money re-releasing the original (or as I say, the only good) three Star Wars movies. But they weren't the same. These were the fancy "Special Editions". Star Wars: A New Hope was the most drastically changed, with tons of new goofy Jar-Jaresque aliens wandering the streets of Mos Eisley, a couple of very CG spaceships, and, oh yeah ... freakin' Greedo shooting first!

The 1990s George Lucas was negating what 1970s George Lucas made. He was second guessing his creative decisions. And just because it's his own work doesn't make it kosher. George Lucas, in changing his mind on Han Solo's morals, changed the whole fabric of the film. In the original release Luke Skywalker was the goody-goody and Han was the rebel, walking the edge of darkness. Shoot first, ask questions later. But not in the Special Edition. Now it's a case of self defense. And that's not nearly as cool. The character has changed, even if his facial expression, posture and attitude haven't.

Plus it looked SO VERY LAME!

I think a reporter over at Ain't It Cool News codenamed Moriarty said it the best:

My point exactly. So what are the big changes in the new 20th Anniversary Special Edition of ET? Well, rumors abound. Probably the most popular is restoring the cut footage of Harrison Ford as an elementary school principal. We've all seen this footage on TV specials and at theme parks. Whoopty-doo. Then there's talk of a CG ET. Ugh. And the removal of all guns and weapons from the film. What?! One website already has altered footage side-by-side with the original footage. Cops once trying to stop the escaping alien with guns drawn now have walkie talkies. Frightening.

Check out the photos ...

In the past month I've heard an even more frightening rumor about revisionist Mr. Spielberg. Apparently it's not coming to pass, thank goodness. The A.I. DVD is set for release on January 29, 2002. Speculation since the terrorist attacks on September 11 was that Spielberg planned on removing the World Trade Center from the end of the film. Digitally wiping it out like it never existed. Recently it has reportedly been refuted from both DreamWorks Home Entertainment and a Spielberg spokesperson. Thank God.

Yes, I know that the argument is the World Trade Center will not exist in the future world of A.I. But if Spielberg is going to go to all of the trouble of removing the icons, couldn't he at least go in and say, edit the last half hour out for us, too? That'd be a hell of a lot more useful story wise, and I think fewer people would complain.

Honestly though, the New York City skyline will evolve over the years, with every new building would Spielberg feel obligated to re-release the film?

I have issue with changing any film, television show or book after it's been released if the sole reason is to change potentially touchy content. "Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face", from Aladdin, is such a great line. Well, I guess I should say was such a great line. Now it's, "Where it's flat and immense and the winds are intense." Christ. Could it be any blander? Disney pandered to other opinions and did not stick with their guns.

All creative arts are about making decisions. By revising your work you are openly admitting that you made the wrong decision, and thus, you are a bad artist. And who really wants to admit that?

Well, I'm off to convince James Cameron that he's a bad filmmaker for not changing Terminator 2 after 2:14 am EST on August 29, 1997. Later.

home | e-mail

This page made with a Macintosh

Last Updated on: October 24, 2001

© 2001-2004 Joshua Paul Edwards

Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement.