Previously I admitted to my obliviousness of Jaws. It turned out to be a solid piece of work. Next on my list of poorly acknowledged classics is E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. This film and I have both turned 30 this year, and we both look better than ever! Although I didn’t have Steven Spielberg sprinkling magic on me for enhancement … I have chewable vitamins to thank for that.
In 1982, folks fell in love with this affectionate story of a ten-year-old Elliot befriending an abandoned, shriveled peanut who we know as E.T. The two have a symbiotic relationship, sharing emotions and dilemmas. Elliot first bumps into the alien behind his house. Alarmed and confused by the interaction, he struggles to explain it to his doubting mother and siblings (including Drew Barrymore in her best role). His older brother offers that the sighting must have been, “A deformed kid or a pervert,” to which Elliot yells back, “It was nothing like that penis-breath!”
This dialog is hilariously eighties.
Elliot and E.T. get past their initial fears of each other to become inseparable pals. The whole family grows to love the alien just in time for government authorities to discover that they’re housing the interplanetary illegal. From here, E.T. and Elliot grow deathly ill and E.T. yearns for his home planet. I won’t spoil the ending if you’re behind on the classics like me, but things get intense. Elliot has some strong, emotional acting and there’s a ripping dirtbike chase that I’m sure made every kid in the eighties want a bmx bike.
This anniversary blu-ray edition is especially enjoyable, because as mentioned, Spielberg sprinkled his magic on it. That means tweaked compositions, lighting and overlayed expressions on E.T.’s face to further the emotions his puppeteers couldn’t fully realize 30 years ago. The updates and Spielberg’s masterful photographic sensibilities make for a visually stunning film. It also has extras with John Williams discussing his “bahhm-bbaahhm-baahhhm” soundtrack and Spielberg explaining why flashlights replaced guns. The sneaky incorporation of his favorite films are not mentioned,
but I’m sure George Lucas is smiling somewhere.