Henry Thomas knows he’ll always be Elliot, the 11-year-old protagonist of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to the millions of fans that grew up with the childhood classic. He’s a fan of the film himself, and its moving story of a young boy that helps an extra-terrestrial being return to the stars — which may be why, just like his fans, he isn’t particularly fond of the changes that were made to the film when it was re-released for its 20th anniversary in 2002.
Compared to CGI changes by some other blockbuster directors, Steven Spielberg’s changes to the original were fairly minimal. The most commented-upon change was the use of CGI to digitally alter weapons used by federal agents in the film into walkie-talkies in an effort to make the family classic, even more, family-friendly. But that wasn’t the change that sat so poorly with Thomas. Speaking to Screenrant, Thomas objected to the digital “enhancement” of ET’s expression — a choice he felt made many scenes look and feel totally different.