Why Are Streaming Services Editing Our Favorite Movies?

James Logie


It may seem small, but it also seems significant.

You may have never even caught this, but it’s important to note.

This all has to do with Netflix — and other streaming services — taking it upon themselves to edit movies to fit their liking.

The example most recently discovered is Back to the Future 2. In case you’ve never seen this movie (unfriend me right now if that is the case), Marty McFly has traveled back in time to take back a sports almanac from the evil Biff Tannen.

This almanac has caused irreparable future damage, and it’s imperative that Marty takes back this book.

Marty travels back to 1955 to the setting of the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

He knows that Biff has the almanac on him, and through a lot of stealthy maneuvering, Marty is able to finally get the book.

But when he opens up the book, he sees images of some scantily clad ladies. Turns out the book is called “Ooh La La.” This is a major reveal in the movie as Marty’s face drops realizing he has screwed up.

What Has Netflix Done?

I know this scene like the back of my hand, but in the Netflix version, they’ve cut out the reveal of “Ooh La La.”

Instead, we just hear Marty say “ooh La La?” and we do not see the cover of the magazine.

This seems pretty interesting that Netflix would decide to edit the scene in this way. Not only is this a pivotal revelation to see the wrong book, but the editing of it is now extremely clunky.

The bigger question is, why does Netflix feel the need to adjust and edit a classic movie? They showed pictures in the book, but not the cover.

Keep in mind, nothing inappropriate is shown whatsoever and nothing offensive.

But to Netflix, it must have been offensive.

This is such a tame and insignificant inclusion in this film compared to what exists in the Netflix realm.

For some reason, they have a problem with this scene but not the premise of Back to the Future, which involves a mother trying to get it on with her son in the past.

This leads to the bigger issue: Why is Netflix taking it upon themselves to adjust the narratives and storytelling in a very established movie like Back to the Future 2?

I’m wondering now what other small edits they will make — or have already — made to other classics, and what gives them the right to do this?

But it looks like they’re not alone.

Disney Get’s in On the Action

This makes a little more sense considering it’s Disney, but they’ve also started with their own small edits. The first one noticed is from the 1984 movie Splash starring Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks.

In this situation, Disney has added extra CGI hair to extend down and cover up more of Daryl Hannah’s “posterior.”

When you watch a movie on TV, you know that you will deal with edits as they inform you that “this movie has been modified from its original version.”

These streaming services are giving no such indication of the editing taking place in these movies.

These are obviously minor changes, but it makes you wonder how much the editing and adjustment of these movies will grow.

You're not able to see these films in their original form, which is more reason than ever to own physical copies of movies if you are a film lover.

This isn’t like George Lucas going in and tinkering with the original Star Wars trilogy as those were his movies and his creations, it's about these services deciding the creative direction — and their interpretation — of established content.

Wrapping it Up

This is obviously a minuscule issue, but the question is; why do these streaming companies feel the need to do this?

Is this something that starts small and develops into your favorite films turning into something different?

Are these enormous companies deciding what this art should actually be and that the original creators of it were wrong?

Hopefully, these are just a few small incidents, but the troubling thing is that they are seeing flaws from their perspective and adjusting them as they seem necessary.

So, I’ll be watching Indiana Jones on Blu-ray before they can digitally edit out his whip and replace it with an extra-long piece of black licorice.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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