“I get bothered when there’s a film that I love and I’m watching it on cable and there’s a scene that was never in it before,” Clements explained. “It just shakes me up, and then they have so many versions; it’s like, ‘Star Wars,’ if I want to see that the way I saw it when it first came out, how do I do that? I’m not so wild about that.”
He has a point: if you want to watch the original “Star Wars” movies as they looked in theaters, you better hope you have a VHS tape of each of them, because otherwise, you’re going to have a hard time. Finding the original version of “A New Hope” today is borderline impossible, which is particularly devastating when you realize so many of the changes made in the special editions are for the worse. The changes and additions often serve little purpose but as cheap, hackneyed fan service, or to over-explain moments that were originally handled with subtlety.
In the end, the “Little Mermaid” directors seemed to understand that it’s best not to learn from your own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others before you. Rather than change too much of their movie and live to face the backlash, they looked at the backlash to Lucas’s “Star Wars” changes and learned this lesson the easy way. As Clements wisely put it, “If the film turned out okay and you’re happy about the way it turned out and people liked it, maybe we should just kind of leave it alone.”