Steven Spielberg says he'll never digitally enhance a past movie again after 'E.T.' backlash

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As he gears up for the incredibly self-referential film “Ready Player One,” famed director Steven Spielberg is looking back on the sum of his career, including some things he now considers mistakes.

The 71-year-old director sat down for an interview with ScreenRant, in which he was asked about going back to some of his old classics and modernizing them with new visual effects, similar to what George Lucas did with the original “Star Wars” films in 2004.

Spielberg is the mastermind behind classic films such as “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park” and many more, so there’s no shortage of films that he could decide to touch up.

However, he revealed that he’s not interested in doing that ever again after the negative backlash he received from tampering with “E.T.” years ago.

“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,” he said.

“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 changes.”

So, it seems that the famed director doesn’t have plans to go back and reshape his old movies after the heat he took from “E.T.” However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be revisiting his old films.

As previously reported, the first trailer for “Ready Player One” was hit with backlash on social media for essentially being a victory lap of Spielberg’s past films. For those unfamiliar, the film is based on a novel by Ernest Cline about a complex video game system called The Oasis. The creator of this vast digital world was a fan of all things 1980s, which he passed along to fans of the game. As a result, both the novel and the movie are rife with references to Spielberg movies, which dominated the decade.