Rights versus Integrity
Both the NYT and IMDB report that George Lucas' seminal sci-fi film THX 1138 is going to be rereleased to theaters on Friday, and"will be released on DVD on Sept. 14 in a digitally buffed and polished ‘director's cut.’ The new version, five minutes longer than the original release, includes several computer-generated enhancements (like a far more elaborate factory where THX works)." I'm all in favor of"director's cut" rereleases, especially when external pressures forced cuts or changes in a film that the director didn't want. But the digital technology that allows for revisions of the film has led to pernicious results. Most egregious is Lucas’ revisions of his original Star Wars: in addition to the gratuitous added FX, he altered the scene where Han shoots Greedo to “sanitize” the character. Another example is Spielberg’s PC removal of guns from ET. This rewriting of history is straight out of Orwell, but doesn’t even have the grace to be motivated by world conquest – it’s the destruction of their own art works for extra cash. I’ll concede, at least arguendo, that they have the right to change their films, but this destruction is an aesthetic wrong, and betrays a lack of integrity on the part of the filmmaker.