Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Dee Wallace
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Melissa Mathison
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 54 min
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is two things. One, and fantastic fairy tale where a boy befriends a stranded alien and helps him get home. Two, a poignant reflection on divorce, and the effects it can have on the family. The fact that these two elements come together so perfectly is thanks to the grand master filmmaker Steven Spielberg. In my opinion he was singularly capable of bringing these two seemingly opposing themes together, and make you believe and care about it.
The young cast are great, especially Henry Thomas, and Drew Barrymore. The score by John William’s is legendary, and the visual effects still hold up well decades after the films initial theatrical release. Even the alien ‘animatronics’ still hold up well, and I would argue work better and look more authentic than the added CGI effects that were included in the 2002 re-release.
Your enjoyment of this film depends on how you connect to the two central characters, Elliot (Henry Thomas) and E.T. If you buy their emotion journey, you are going to love this film. If you find movies that try to pass off puppets as real characters annoying. Then focus your energy on the more subtle theme of a family dealing with a separation. Members of either group should enjoy John William’s score.
Best viewing format:
This is a movie to be seen on a big screen if you can manage it. At home, the 2012 30th anniversary edition on blu-ray is the way to go. This release includes a fully restored version of the original 1982 film.
Best moments for me: << spoiler >>
When E.T gets drunk. The reaction on Gertie’s (Drew Barrymore) face when they use the defibrillator on E.T is just heartbreaking. The scene at the end with Elliot and E.T.