E.T. - THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
Elliot (Henry Thomas) is a regular 10 year old, who lives in a suburban house with his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), five year old sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and recently separated mother (Dee Wallace). Elliot is a bit of a loner and when he discovers an alien in his backyard, he hides him in his room and they form a close bond. He and his siblings soon realise that E.T. needs to return from where he came and the extra-terrestrial uses his super-intelligence to try to send a message home. In the meantime, Government officials are investigating UFO sightings and are getting closer and closer.
Review by Louise Keller:
Revisit the magic of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a timeless and heart-warming story about a young boy’s relationship with an alien. Great care has been taken with this 20th anniversary restoration to ensure that the magic of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi fantasy told from the perspective of both Elliot and E.T. is not lost or overshadowed by new technical advances and changes. It is an enchanting tale that tugs at the heartstrings and reinforces all our childhood notions, when our minds were devoid of restrictions and our imagination was as limitless as the universe. The film is as fresh today as it was when it was made, and now can be rediscovered by a whole new generation. ‘Phone home’ may be the best known line from the film, but to me ‘I’m keeping him’ is one of the most memorable. What child doesn’t dream of having his own friend – imaginary or not? It’s a credit to Melissa Mathison’s script and Spielberg’s willingness to let his young actors improvise, that the dialogue feels very real, and the children talk in the kind of language that real children do. ‘I don’t like his feet’ is one of the lines accredited to (then) cute-as-a-button six year old Drew Barrymore as Gertie, who looks and sounds so similar to how she does today. All the cast is excellent, especially ten year old Henry Thomas, who simply steals our hearts with an accomplished and poignant performance as Elliot. ‘You can’t tell Mum’ Elliot tells Gertie with child-like rationale ‘because grown-ups can’t see him’. But is pragmatic to brother Greg’s question (‘Well, can’t he beam up?”) about taking E.T. to the spaceship, in his reply ‘This is reality, Greg!’ You will never forget the moment when they take to the skies in the symbolic bicycle ride of our dreams that journeys across the full moon’s shining face. Nor will you forget the emotional final and affecting goodbye between Elliot and ET. It’s a heartbreaking and moving moment that encapsulates the essence of Spielberg’s film. John Williams’ Academy award winning soundtrack has been remastered and digitised and has never sounded better with its six track fullness. It’s one of those themes that haunts you – and when the key phrase soars into a glorious modulation, there’s a feeling of joy and freedom of body and soul as you relive certain scenes in your head. Watch out for the additional footage, including the scene where E.T. falls into the bathtub. You may remember that Yoda’s brief appearance in the Halloween scene was Spielberg’s tribute to his friend George Lucas. A genuinely sweet film, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is an uplifting tale appealing to child inside us all.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
After reading the finished script in one excited hour, Steven Spielberg went looking for his producer partner Kathleen Kennedy, found her in a Universal Studio canteen, and grabbed her before dessert: “Don’t order dessert … Melissa’s script [of ET] is dessert!” And no wonder it seemed especially so to the young Spielberg, who was cutting Raiders of the Lost Ark at the time Melissa Mathison was writing ET. But he was right. It is sweet and satisfying. The story was really Spielberg’s anyway, but Mathison put the words to it, and he calls it a “genius screenplay”. More a buddy movie than a science fiction outing (if reducing it to simple labels helps), ET concentrates on the fantasy of a cuddly alien in the backyard from a child’s point of view. Rightly so, even if the notion of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is a grown up topic. Does it still work? Why wouldn’t it? Take any 8 year old and see for yourself.
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E.T. - THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (PG)
20th Anniversary re-release
CAST: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, K.C. Martel, Sean Frye
DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg
PRODUCER: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy
SCRIPT: Melissa Mathison
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Allen Daviau
EDITOR: Carol Littleton
MUSIC: John Williams
PRODUCTION DESIGN: mes D. Bissell
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 28, 2002