First, it’s not perfect. OK, I got that out of the way. For anyone examining E.T The Extra-Terrestrial with an analytical, cynical, grown up brain, you will find the flaws and I’m here to tell you to just get over it.
I’m a strong believer that the artist knows the heart and soul of their work and that needs to be respected. In the case of E.T. I am throwing that belief out the door. I have decided what this movie and the story and the characters come into my eyes and brain as, regardless of what Mr. Spielberg CLAIMS, is what it is to me. He says it’s about a family broken by divorce and a boy’s search for someone to make him not feel like an outcast, someone to connect with in the darkness of a troubled childhood..etc.
What do I see? A boy finds an alien left behind by chance. They become friends in a way that’s indefinable, true deep emotional connections happens outside the constraints of family, friends, human understanding. It reminds me of what we really are, beings kicking around on this planet whirling through space and an unimaginable speed and ferocity. It’s against the cosmos, or us within the cosmos, so why do we squabble with each other? I understand we have different views of life and different beliefs, different habits, different designs on value, worth, and reasons to keep on living this life. What I don’t understand is why, now in this time when we can see the whole world and we know we all exist, that we don’t look beyond ourselves to see we are in it together, from the dawn of our species until it ends some day. We can connect to each other and care for one another the way Elliot and his family come to care for E.T.
E.T.’s life, his existence, his presence, it’s valuable to the family as a being to care for, someone to teach and to learn from. They care about his welfare, his own feelings, his future, his presence. E.T. appears to have the same kind of ability to care, to feel, to connect and want the best of life and health for those around him (her?). We cry when E.T. hurts. We cry when Elliot cries for his new friend. We cry when Gerty cries. We cry when things turn around. We cry. Globally we cry. People around this whole planet have cried at E.T. for the exact same reasons I cry at the movie, the story, the sentiment. Yes, it’s very sentimental. It’s gushy and saccharine and hokey at times, which is where the imperfections might start to show for those with a sharper eye for cynicism. I take that filter off for watching a few movies, including E.T. which makes all the difference.
E.T. is about feelings, memories, sentiment, 1100%. It’s not about amazing special effects or any kind of overt filmmaking style. There is a certain Spielberg space alien movie vibe about it, but that’s more about the era when the movie was made. If the style overrides the content a story like that of Elliot and E.T. disappears kind of like what I see Avatar suffering from. The look and experience of the movie is so much bigger than the sentiment that later you reflect more on the images than on the drama of the characters. E.T. focuses completely on the faces, the tears, the close ups and the words of the people in this suburban world.
I didn’t see E.T. when I was young. I was in my 20’s or older actually when I finally watched it all the way through and I have to say the memory I have is less impactful than the memory my lovely husband Ascully has of it, and still has when he watches it. So, I feel what I need to feel from the whole tragic and uplifting story. I get the governmental intimidation and the reality that is represented by the fear of an alien creature amongst mere humans. The thing is, that little dude and the other little dude with their feelings for each other, that true connection (real because it physically effects them both) is what fills my mind and my heart when I see it and think of it.
It’s not about divorce and a broken home to me, but that’s OK Stephen, it’s your piece of art so it is what you say it is….just not in my brain:)
- Steven Spielberg & ET – A 13 minute look back at the director and the movie. Spielberg himself talks candidly about what E.T means to him and this is a great look at the man with the big imagination.
- The ET Journals – Now this is simply superb and worth the price of admission on it’s own. E.T The Journals is a feature length fly on the wall look at the making of the movie, it is comprmised of all on the set footage from back in the 1980’s. If Spielberg can have this level of on the set footage back then some newer movies should take note.
- Deleted Scenes – 4 minutes of deleted scenes that you will have seen before in older releases, they were cut for a reason.
- A Look Back – A 38 minute feature taken from the 20th anniversary DVD, unfortunately this is non anamorphic so it looks very weird on today’s 1080P sets.
- The Evolution & Creation Of ET – Another hour long documentary taken from the 20th anniversary DVD. This one is kinda weird as it covers the same subjects A look back did. For completion’s sake only.
- The ET Reunion – Spielberg, Thomas, Barrymore, McNaughton, Wallace, Peter Coyote and Kathleen Kennedy all sit down and remenise about the movie. This is from 10 years ago so it’s aged slightly. As I was watching and looking at Drew Barrymore all I could think was she was married to Tom Green back then what the hell happened to her.
- The Music Of ET – A 10 minute conversation with master composer John Williams.
- The 20th Anniversary Premiere – For the 20th anniversary of the movie John Williams got a full orchestra together and played live to the movie. If you got to see that live I am jealous. Here Williams takes us through the preparation for the live event.
- Designs, Photo’s Marketing & More – 6 image galleries that run a total of 45 minutes.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 10/10
I would have this as a poster, as a coffee cup, as a desktop wallpaper, as a mousepad, etc. It’s a classic image, who am I to judge:) The menu is simple navigation, which is fine with me, nothing fancy needed to get me to E.T.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Like Jaws E.T has been given the full 4K restoration treatment from Universal and the results are stunning, you have never seen or heard the movie this way in your life. The most impressive part is how Spielberg has ditched all the weird changes from the special edition and has given us the version of E.T we remember from our childhood. This transfer has everything going for it, with great color saturation and superb detail in every shot it also fills your entire HDTV using the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
Audio is also remastered this time in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which brings the tinny sounding track you have dealt with on older versions of the release right into 2012. Special note should be made to John Williams score which is more boisterous in this version especially in the closing scenes. I had not noticed how beautiful the score was until seeing the Blu-Ray as it was often under mixed in previous home releases. As for the actual dialog its always crisp and very directional The Surround sound speakers are used sparingly and mostly for music so the dialog is front anchored and never compromised by William’s score.
Overall this is the best version of E.T you will ever have seen, if you are a fan of the movie (or have kids who have not been introduced to this charming movie) you should go out and get it right away. It’s one for the Christmas lists folks.
(clears throat) Um, people…IT’S E. Friggin’ T! What do you expect? I’m not gonna say it’s not worth any price. If you are in love with that feeling you had when you first saw it as a kid, pay the price. If you are in love with the feeling you still get as an adult, pay the price. If you have only just watched it and are wondering what all the fuss is about, pay the price, and watch it again with a young child for whom you have much love and see the wonder in their little face…and then be glad you paid the price. Did I mention it’s only FIFTEEN dollars? That’s $15.00, yes, pay the price and make a couple hours of your life special again.
Overall Score 10/10