E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

"Essential"

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Review


Break out the Reese's Pieces and the Speak 'n' Spell - E.T. is back, and he's hungry for your blood!!!

Okay, while this 20th anniversary reissue makes a few changes, it's not quite that radical... but if you haven't seen this film since you were 10 years old (like me), it is well worth another visit to the movie. Never mind the updates and alterations -- it's amazing how much I'd forgotten from the original -- which means the update is just as fresh and exciting as it was in 1982. But Steven Spielberg has been tinkering -- and not really in an obvious way like Lucas did with Star Wars. Most notable among the changes (which add about 5 minutes to the running time) are a repaired and expanded opening sequence, wherein we meet E.T. and his alien family, which is forced to leave him behind when those pesky feds get too close.

E.T. ends up being found in America's foggiest subdivision by Elliott (Henry Thomas), who immediately finds a connection with him - two loners both lost in their own way. Elliott eventually introduces E.T. to his siblings, played by Robert NacNaughton and an unforgettable Drew Barrymore, who absolutely steals the show as the terminally cute Gertie (poor kid!). Meanwhile, a strange, symbiotic bond forms between the boy and the alien. Soon they feel each other's emotions and experience each other's sicknesses - most memorably when E.T. consumes a six-pack of Coors, getting them both drunk.

The feds close in on the alien just as he begins to get inexplicably ill (and not from the beer) - prompting Elliott to help him "phone home," building a kind of space antenna out of an umbrella, a circular saw blade, a fork, and, of course, a Speak 'n' Spell. Director Steven Spielberg hasn't fixed the nonsensical science of E.T. with this reissue, but that's befitting both the Spielberg "writ large" style and the fact that this is really a fable for children, not a pondering on high-tech. In fact, it's one of the best children's stories ever put to film.

The other changes are more difficult to spot. Spielberg has fixed a number of continuity and special effects mistakes, of course. A scene with Elliott comparing his height to the alien - only for his neck to stretch for the first time - is a memorable addition, and purists will bemoan the replacement of the feds' guns with walkie-talkies (yeah, it looks weird when you hold a walkie-talkie like a gun), though it hardly ruins the movie.

What's intact is the film's powerful yet unmushy message of friendship, unconditional love, helping those in need... geez, what doesn't this film have that an impressionable kid couldn't stand to hear? E.T., as we conclude in the end, is a lost child, just like Elliott. The bond between these two stands as one of cinema's most stirring relationships ever -- especially amazing considering one of them has a vocabulary of about 10 words.

I figured today's jaded kids, which packed our screening, wouldn't care for E.T., seeing the movie as manipulative and cheesy. But how wrong I was: On the way out, a pipsqueak chorus of "E.T. phone home!" was all I could hear.

Lots of extras on the long-awaited DVD release, which packs in plenty of archival documentary footage and a reunion interview with the cast and crew (dig Robert MacNaughton's hairdo!). A real must-have.

Might as well be riding bikes on the sun.



E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th June 1982

Box Office Worldwide: $792.9M

Budget: $10.5M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Fresh: 96 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Elliott, as Keys, as Gertie, as Pretty Girl, Sean Frye as Steve, as Tyler, as Michael, K. C. Martel as Greg, David M. O'Dell as Schoolboy, Richard Swingler as Science Teacher, Frank Toth as Policeman, Pat Welsh as E.T. (voice), Dee Wallace as Mary

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.