Steven Spielberg Regrets Altering E.T.

During a Q&A after a 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Arc this week, Steven Spielberg was asked how he felt about George Lucas’s insistance on continuing to tweak Star Wars until every last nerd has written an angry rant on a message board about it. From All Things Fangirl (you’ve read this already, I assume):

I was overly sensitive to some of the criticism E.T. got from parent groups when it was first released in ’82 having to do with Elliott saying “Penis Breath” or the guns … and then there were certain brilliant but rough-around-the-edges close ups of E.T. that I always felt, if technology ever evolves to the point where I can do some facial enhancement for E.T. I’d like to. I realized that what I had done was I had robbed the people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T. And I regretted that.

BOOOOOOOOO. And then the whole audience erupted in “BOOOO”s and then they started rioting and now everyone is dead, RIP them. JK. Obviously this is a very thoughtful answer to a question he might get asked a lot, I have no idea, but one that he has at least asked himself more than once. But the thing with all of this anger about movie altering that I don’t understand is that the old versions still exist. Right? Can’t you just not buy a copy of the new version and pretend like it doesn’t exist? I do understand the anger about altering the history of the movie and then also your childhood, I guess, and leaving the updated version as the version that will continue on forever and ever, but also I don’t because that is not really true. The old versions will always still exist, and the old versions are probably what will still be played during Star Wars holiday marathons on TV. There are much worse movie altering situations we could be in. For example:

  • Movies don’t exist anymore.
  • DVD players disappear from every home and everyone has to buy a Blu-Ray player and all new Blu-Ray DVDs.
  • Once everyone replaces their DVD collection with Blu-Rays, a superior system is announced.
  • Movies still exist, but for some reason they’re all Star Wars. Like you turn on FX because it says they’re playing Fight Club, but instead it’s Star Wars. Or you buy a ticket to a movie and instead of Drive it’s Star Wars. And everyone thinks this is only happening to them, because when they try to communicate it with anyone else their words come out as gibberish.
  • You can only see movies in color if you agree to live your life in black and white.
  • Movies are only two-hour episodes of popular TV shows and they all cost $40 but you have to see at least two per month.
  • All movie theaters go out of business because too many people are watching movies at home, but you like going to the movie theater and don’t even OWN a TV. So how do you watch movies now?
  • Somehow all the dialogue in every classic film is altered, in every version and every copy of every film. You’ll be watching it with your friends, awaiting that moment when you all say the classic line outloud together, and instead of  “E.T. phone home” the line is “Can I borrow your phone?”
  • Movies play when you close your eyes and you can never escape them and they’re all updated versions of your childhood favorites.

SEE? Don’t you feel lucky now? That THAT isn’t the movie altering we’re talking about? Thank you and you’re welcome. (Via Vulture.)