I still remember the September 11th terrorist attacks like they were yesterday. It was 2001 and I was only a 6th grader; we were on a class retreat to kick off the new school-year on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles, California, my hometown. That trip otherwise probably would have fuzzily lingered in the back of my mind somewhere along with a lot of other things that happened back in my elementary school days.
But instead, that day will go down as one of my most vivid memories from my childhood. They took us into the recreation center on the island and explained to us that our country had been attacked. Our trip was cut short, and we were taken home to our parents, who were also in shock at the time, and who were tasked with the troubling and difficult job of explaining what had happened to some 11 and 12-year-olds.
My dad was in New York at the time, but he was able to get to safety. I think stories like mine obviously pale in comparison to others whose family members weren't safe and sound by the end of that week. And may the first responders and heroic individuals who lost their lives that day forever rest in peace. I remember the world essentially stopping. And that of course included sports and film.
These 7 films had to make adjustments after the attacks to make sure that they were tastefully and delicately handling a situation that a lot of people at that time had trouble coping with.
1. Spider-Man left out a scene where Spider-Man captures a helicopter between the towers
They eventually left this scene out, but originally it was supposed to be in there, since the film shot the scene before September of '01. They replaced it with a scene of Spidey hanging off a flag pole with the American flag connected to it, in homage to the victims of the attack.
2. The World Trade Center towers were digitally deleted from Zoolander
It didn't seem like there was likely to be much funniness any time in the near future after 9/11, but Zoolander dropped two weeks later and proved Americans are pretty good at rallying together and getting past tragedy. The cult classic was unreal! I'm still waiting on the sequel. They had to digitally delete the WTC towers from the film, which was set in NYC.
3. In the 2001 movie Spy Game, the level of smoke from an explosion scene was decreased since it was too similar to the attack scene
Not even the same building, and probably innocent, the people behind Spy Game (probably correctly) thought it was too soon to have an explosion scene that was too eerily similar to the WTC scene that became all too familiar after 9/11 and the subsequent 24 hour news coverage.
4. Serendipity had to remove shots of the WTC
Once again, this is an example of digital removal of the towers from a film. It's so weird to think that things were almost certainly business-as-usual prior to having to make these kinds of big-time alterations to the cinematography. The towers are iconic, and removing them from the film must have felt very strange for the graphic editors.
5. Men in Black II was supposed to have a climax scene at the World Trade Center, but they moved it to the Statue of Liberty
Men in Black II... yet another movie that was set in New York and had to make a pretty drastic change to an important scene after 9/11. The Statue of Liberty is still a cool shot and it ended up being fine, but they did originally plan on using the World Trade Center.
6. In the 2002 animated film Lilo And Stitch, a joyride in a 747 was cut... and eventually included... in the DVD special features
Pretty crazy to think that a kid's movie with a comical and fun scene about flying a plane around some buildings might remind people or relate too closely to the 9/11 attacks. They eventually put the innocent scene back in, though, in the DVD special features.
7. In the 2002 film The Bourne Identity, a terrorism storyline had to be changed
The DVD special features explain further how they adjusted the storyline. The movie had to be extensively edited to make it more palatable to American and worldwide audiences.
It was a terrible day in world history, but I think the best takeaway is that we were able to move on with the things we love and cherish most. And honestly, I think that includes movies. You can't live life in fear; one has to keep moving forward to live a full and happy life.
These movies may have had to make alterations, but all of these films were likely beneficial in helping a shaken society get back to "normal." And we got to that state of "normal" more quickly because of these films, in my honest opinion.