Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Earlier this morning I had a lengthy phone interview with Steven Spielberg and, to be honest, my head is still swimming a little bit. It wasn’t just getting the chance to talk with the man who directed my childhood, essentially, it’s that he agreed to a chat focused specifically on JAWS, which celebrates its 36th anniversary this coming June 20th.
The conversation will be posted in its entirety Monday morning, God willing… all 50-ish minutes of it, but I wanted to pull a piece of news out for you guys.
Yes, a Jaws Blu-Ray is in the works. No date is set, but the process has begun and the real interesting part is what he has to say about his approach to “digital corrections.” Read on:
Quint: Is there a Jaws Blu-Ray in the works?
Steven Spielberg: Yes, there is. Yes, there is. I’ve already seen some of it. I don’t have a date yet, but there’s a Blu-Ray absolutely in the works.
Quint: I can’t wait, man. I love that the last DVD release actually had the original mono soundtrack on it as well. I wasn’t a fan of the remixed 5.1 sound… the splashing sounded canned…
Steven Spielberg: Oh, I know. I totally understand that. (In the future) there’s going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I’m not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show.
If 1941 comes on Blu-Ray I’m not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-Ray will bring the wires out that are guiding the airplane down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.
Quint: I’m in total agreement with you. I wish you could talk George (Lucas) into doing the same thing!
Steven Spielberg: Well, I can’t!
Quint: (laughs) Yeah, I don’t think anybody can!
Steven Spielberg: George goes his own way and I respect him for it, but my new philosophy on this is to let sleeping dogs lie.
Quint: That’s great news for film lovers.
Steven Spielberg: When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T. If you notice, when we did put out E.T. we put out two E.T.s. We put out the digitally enhanced version with the additional scenes and for no extra money, in the same package, we put out the original ‘82 version. I always tell people to go back to the ’82 version.
Quint: Having the option is the big deal for me. Using the Star Wars example, I don’t think there’d be an outcry if we could watch a nice transfer of the original versions. We’d be like, “George can do what he wants and I’ll watch it… but you know maybe the fans would like the option of watching the movie they fell in love with, too.”
Steven Spielberg: Yeah. And I think the other good thing is that they understand when they see a movie and they suddenly see something that obviously could have been done much better today and could have been corrected in the DVD/Blu-Ray transfer, they really appreciate seeing the strings attached.
If somebody put out George Pal’s War of the Worlds and took the strings off the machines I’d be very upset. When that machine crashes in downtown Hollywood, and you see the strings going from taut to slack, that’s the thing that allows me to both understand this movie is scaring the hell out of me and at the same time this movie is a creation of the human race.
That little taut-to-slack moment of those wires on that wingtip makes the original George Pal War of the Worlds work for me. It embraces my fears and it also alleviates them in the same breath.
Is that not music to your ears? It is to mine. No CGI sharked-up Jaws: SE on the horizon makes me incredibly happy for exactly the reasons Spielberg himself mentioned.
To be clear, I didn't interpret his statement to mean that the movie won't be restored to Blu-Ray quality, just that he's not adding in CGI fixes. I'm a massive fan of digital restoration (look at the Alien and Aliens Blu-Rays), I just don't like it when directors retroactively go in and fix something that ain't broke.
Don’t expect a commentary track on the upcoming Jaws Blu, though. Spielberg hasn’t done one yet and told me he doesn’t like them.
Be sure to come back to read my full interview where we talk a lot about Jaws, Robert Shaw, The Indianapolis Speech, Martha’s Vineyard, creative workarounds to a malfunctioning mechanical star, a very special story surrounding an exclusive Presidential screening of E.T., his iconic visual style, and his response to my closing comment of “You need to quit beating up on Temple of Doom so much.”
That’ll post bright and early Monday morning (or late Sunday night depending on your point of view).