Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore
Synopsis: A squat, ugly (yet still somehow adorably cute) alien is stranded on planet Earth and is hunted by a number of government types. He finds refuge and friendship in the house of a young boy, Elliott. While Elliott helps E.T. get a message to his people, E.T. helps heal the wounds that result from a broken home.
I have recently found myself in a mood to reminisce, so it is no surprise that I follow-up watching the Back to the Future trilogy on BluRay with E.T. on BluRay. Watching a film like this, it is hard to separate from memories of a childhood in the ’80s. There is an innocence to the film that would be difficult to recreate in modern cinema, yet it also has to be respected for its time for addressing some prickly issues. It shall always be best remembered though, as the tale of a lonely boy making a friend with a truly magical and wonderful being.
Repeat viewings have never diminished the joy I have watching this film. The ugly squat alien will forever in my eyes be adorably cute. His greatest feature is his complete good will. His magic is only ever used for good, despite all the less than honourable characters pursuing him. He only seeks to heal and share, and he shares most with Elliott, with whom he shares a bond that goes beyond the emotional. I appreciate this is almost a whole paragraph of me waxing lyrical, but I simply cannot help it, I have spent long hours reflecting on why I love this film, and these musings are some of the results.
The film also has to be respected for directly confronting the issue of a family with separated parents. Such a concept is far from uncommon in modern society, so the delicacy with which this issue was addressed may seem quaint to an audience in 2013. The fact is though, that back then this was an extremely sensitive issue, and perhaps even more damaging for the children involved given the stigma such an event caused socially back then. So the film may be about the relationship between a lonely boy and a friend, but, it is a friend filling an empty void in this child’s life. Indeed, this alien’s actions had a significant impact on this entire family, in a way that is quite beautiful. If possible, E.T. repaired a broken home.
The BluRay transfer is amazing, and it makes the effects pop even more. None of the effects have aged overly much, and they still amaze and delight. Seeing that famous bicycle in front of the moon in full HD, with John Williams’ magical score hitting a full HD crescendo… it is enough to bring tears to the eyes of any self-respecting cinephile. Spielberg has also backtracked with this upgrade, returning guns to the print that had been removed for the 20th anniversary special edition. Indeed, he did a reverse to George Lucas, which I am sure delights more fans than just myself. The discs also come with a special collector’s book covering extra details behind the scenes of the film, making this must have for fans.
I have been revisiting my childhood favourites a lot of late, and occasionally have been disappointed. E.T. delights me like seeing it for the first time, every time. There is no question why it has made history.
5 stars out of 5