E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Review

Movie: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
By: Maniac E
Date: October 2, 2012

His Adventure On Earth

Thirty years since its initial theatrical run, the story of the friendship between a boy and an extra-terrestrial still manages to bring me to tears. The bizarre alien creature that awkwardly wobbles from a tool shed towards a terrified Elliot (Henry Thomas) with Reese's Pieces candy in hand looks just as ugly and strange as the first time audiences saw it, but in the capable, brilliant hands of Steven Spielberg, the weird puppet, animatronic or little person inside a costume becomes an extraordinary and surprisingly believable being we soon grow to care for and even wish to be a part of our own lives. The fact that the film can still work its magic and be just as effective as ever is a testament to the work done by the filmmakers and of Spielberg's mastery of the craft.

On the surface, E.T. tells the rather simple tale of a ten-year-old boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) who befriends a stranded alien. But it's so much more. Elliott, the middle child of three, is struggling to deal with everything from bullies at school to feelings of loneliness and isolation to his parents' recent divorce. Spielberg didn't just set out to make a movie about a boy and his adventures with a lovable extraterrestrial; he set out (and succeeded) to make a movie about a family, broken and in distress, that's strengthened and made whole again through a series of trying but extraordinary events. E.T., as Elliott dubs him, is really little more than an otherworldly catalyst; a wonderful character in his own right, mind you, but a neatly packaged catalyst all the same. He's sweet. He's lost. He wants to get home. He has a taste for junk food. That's the long and short of it. The richness of the narrative comes by way of Elliott's family -- his mother Mary (Dee Wallace), his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and his younger sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) -- and their reactions and responses to E.T., the government agents closing in on the poor creature's location (most notable among them Peter Coyote), and E.T.'s efforts to contact his ship.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

I saw E.T. when I was a kid and I remember loving it. It really was such a great movie and I even remember my grandmother coming with us and she loved it too! And for back then the effects were amazing. Of course now we watch it and movies have evolved so much but the kids loved it and it’s still a great movie. They did such a great job with the digital remastering of this movie and the quality was pretty amazing considering how long ago this movie was originally made. I seriously sat there for the first 20 minutes of the movie and was just amazed at the quality. I kept saying to my husband -look at that, look at that! And I remember the original movie was very dark, and this one wasn’t as dark, you could see the picture much better.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Being a Spielberg production, of course, that attachment is made quite literal in the special bond Elliot shares with E.T., and as is also typical of Spielberg, the story brings a darker edge to suburbia, where the perfect image of the modern family is disrupted by the heartache of divorce. This is also a story about a boy confronting any abandonment issues he might have, finding comfort and understanding by befriending an alien who also feels abandoned and alone. As corny as it may sound, E.T.'s health deteriorates not from a prolonged stay on Earth, but because of a lack of familial love, the most important aspect for a healthy, happy life. In helping him phone home, Elliot and his family grow closer than ever and endure an unpredictable future together rather than alone.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

During its original theatrical run, this modern fairytale of contemporary life became an instant box-office smash and quickly grew into a cultural phenomenon and icon of the decade. It endures as a magical and memorable masterpiece of cinema because the story comes with a timeless, universal message which future generations of moviegoers can continue to cherish and admire.



Image quality

Restored and remastered from the original 35mm negatives, 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' lands on Blu-ray with a terrific 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. The cinematography of Allen Daviau is well preserved and remains faithful to the intentions of the filmmakers. A large portion of the film was shot indoors with poor lighting conditions, an artistic choice which reflects the story's many themes.


Without a doubt, the track's greatest and most thrilling aspect is the memorable score of John Williams, breathing life to the sound system with rich detail and clarity in all seven channels. Every time the haunting, fairytale-like motif comes on, the front soundstage fills with warmth and fidelity, generating a wonderfully engaging image. Dynamics and acoustics are crisp with sharp, almost lifelike precision in the instrumentation. Vocals are clean and well-prioritized in the center with remarkable intonation, allowing for viewers to hear every tearful piece of dialogue. Low bass is appropriate for a movie of this vintage, mostly reserved for providing depth to the music.


Many of the supplements from the previous DVD releases are ported over for this Blu-ray. Missing is the Steven Spielberg intro, a live performance with John Williams conducting and the interactive space exploration featurette.The E.T. Journals are included on this bluray release which are an extra 54 minutes!


E.T. takes me back; to childhood, to a simpler time, to a purer state of movie-going ease... wherever, whenever or whatever it may be, Spielberg's adventure classic takes me back. I still laughed, still gasped, still grinned, still wept like a child. I still felt like burying my head as E.T.'s life slipped away, and I still felt like exploding out of my seat when his chest began to glow and Elliott's flower began to grow. After all these years -- thirty to be exact -- it's a film that still has a hold on me. And now it has it's hold on my son as well. Much to their credit, Universal didn't rush this one to market. Between its terrific restoration and video transfer, its excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, and its mix of worthwhile special features old and new, E.T. is one of the year's must-have Blu-ray catalog releases.



E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


Steven Spielberg






Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore and Peter Coyote