And, with this release, Spielberg makes good on his promise to never revisit his classic films and tweak them with newly-minted special effects, additional footage, and whatever PC changes modern times dictate. For its blu-ray release E.T. The Extra Terrestrial arrives in all its original 1982 glory and, thankfully, ignores the 2002 re-release that upset so many fans and Spielbergians alike. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Spielberg’s masterpiece arrives on high definition complete with a shiny new transfer that has been expertly remastered from high-resolution 35mm film elements. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial returns to earth in a shiny new spaceship.
Written by Melissa Mathison, the magical tale of an alien left behind and the 10-year old boy he befriends is a definite classic of the medium. Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) are E.T.’s earthbound family and, as others are aware of his existence, the three siblings much join together to make sure that E.T. makes it home. Featuring memorable performances from Dee Wallace and Peter Coyote, this American classic is and always will be destined for immortality. It’s that perfect moment for everyone and, I’m sure, at some point was everyone’s favorite film at some point in his or her lives.
With a mysterious opening and a forlorn ending, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is anything but a cheap gimmie-gimmie from its director. No, this is the real thing. It is a film that threatens its nameless outer space visitor from beginning to end and refuses to loosen up on its heartstrings for the sake of its audience. Sensitive and challenging to the family friendly fare of the time period (and, to a point, even today), the film is a precise portrait of middle class families and prides itself on being a little rough around the edges. Give it 10 minutes and it will steal your heart. Its beauty is undeniable.
While about an alien, the film works more so because of the family-sized reality – established early in the film – feels completely honest throughout the film. With nothing forced, marvel at the characters the kids exhibit. Obviously, Elliot’s the one we should focus on the most and his transformation - based upon the symbiotic relationship he’s established with E.T. - is executed without the cutesy manner in which it would be today. Even the famous drunk scene – which some could argue makes Mary (Wallace) look a little foolish and less commanding – works with remarkable edits back-and-forth between the two boys. It’s spooky and harrowing and reveals more about the nature of children’s entertainment in a then and now context then anything else. And Barrymore damn near steals her scenes from every actor with innocence unmatched by even the youngest of actors. It seems miraculous that Spielberg got so much from these young actors.
While it distills earlier motiffs Spielberg explored in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the film manages to be more universal (and less open to confusion) as it is essentially about an alien child seperated from his family and focuses on his “night out” with human children. The alien POV is simple and, complete with dewy-eyed wonder, a tireless joy to be apart of. Yet, the joy is not limited to what happens visually. Purists cannot deny the beauty in the swells of John Williams’ music – who won his fourth Oscar with this score - that forever binds E.T. with Elliot and both to Reese's Pieces candy.
It’s no denying that E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is a prime example of a director working at the very top of his game. Spielberg has been noted as embracing this film as his most personal. And while we can argue to the exhaustion about which film is his best film to date, no one would feel slighted or somehow defeated if E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was the final consensus. With this film, Spielberg has said his piece on childhood, the joy of wonder, and embracing differences. And, perhaps most importantly, it thunderously works itself into a stirring adventure that will never be forgotten.
MPAA Rating: PG for language and mild thematic elements.
Runtime: 115 mins.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison
Cast: Dee Wallace; Henry Thomas; Drew Barrymore; Peter Coyote; K.C. Martel
Genre: Adventure | Family | Fantasy
Tagline: His Adventure On Earth
Memorable Movie Quote: "Maybe, um - You know how they say there are alligators in the sewers?"
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.facebook.com/E.T.Movie?sk=timeline
Release Date: June 11, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 9, 2012
Synopsis: A meek and alienated little boy finds a stranded extraterrestrial. He has to find the courage to defy the authorities to help the alien return to its home planet.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - October 9, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
The restored film looks incredible in 1080p high definition. Digitally remastered and framed in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the transfer was handled with the same amount of care as the Jaws restoration and looks just as good as that transfer (if not better). Again, this release utilizes the original 1982 theatrical cut and scraps the 2002 edition as the inferior presentation that it is; something Spielberg’s friend, the mighty George Lucas, would never do with his Star Wars films. Allen Daviau’s cinematography has been faithfully reproduced. Detail manages to come through surprisingly well and some of the outdoors scenes - such as the late night forest scenes - look as if they could’ve been shot in 2011. Obviously, matte lines and VFX shots are more noticeable due to the upgrade and grain is present throughout; not a bad thing mind you. The drab, suburban color palette is also accurately presented. The audio is equally impressive, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that makes the most of John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score.
Most of the special features have been ported over from the 2002 DVD, including more than two hours of featurettes. The new 12-minute interview with Spielberg is what fans should be excited about, though. This is probably the closest we will ever get to a commentary from Spielberg. Here, he discusses his feelings about the movie and the memories he has of premiering it across the world and, eventually, for President Reagan. Also new are the E.T. Journals, a compilation of John Toll’s on-set footage from the making of the movie. It’s exciting footage and presented in chronological order to match with events from the movie. Two deleted scenes, restored and reinserted, from the 2002 20th Anniversary DVD edition are included in another featurette. Part of Laurent Bouzereau’s documentary (from the original laserdisc) is included. Why all of it isn’t here is beyond me, though. A gathering and group interview with the cast and Spielberg is presented in the Reunion supplemental. There’s a brief look at the award-winning music and a look at the 20th Anniversary premier, plus some marketing prints. A standard DVD and codes for digital and UltraViolet copies are included.
Steven Spielberg and E.T. (12 min)
The E.T. Journals (54 min)
Deleted Scenes (4 min)
A Look Back (38 min)
The Evolution and Creation of E.T. (50 min)
The E.T. Reunion (18 min)
The Music of E.T. (10 min)
The 20th Anniversary Premiere (18 min)
Designs, Photographs and Marketing
Theatrical Trailer & TV Spot