E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
Dee Wallace as MARY
Henry Thomas as ELLIOTT
Peter Coyote as KEYS
Robert MacNaughton as MICHAEL
Drew Barrymore as GERTIE
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
BY KEVIN CARR
Along with “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” was easily Universal’s most anticipated Blu-ray of 2012. It’s anticipation outweighed the recent Blu-ray box set releases of “Jurassic Park” and “Back to the Future.” And this is for good reason. “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” is a classic film that is long overdue for the high-def treatment.
I was just turning eleven when “E.T.” first came out in theaters in 1982. I remember what a insane phenomenon it was. Similar to how the recent explosions of popularity and record breaking that we’ve seen in superhero movies over the past decade (starting with “Spider-Man” in 2002, continuing through “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” in 2008, and most recently making news with “The Avengers” this past summer), the era of “E.T.” seemed unreal.
The story is quite simple. It’s a little lost alien that is left behind on Earth. He finds his way into a suburban home where he meets a young boy and forms a special bond. The children in the family try to keep E.T. hidden, and they hope to help the little alien call home. However, a persistent scientist eventually tracks him down.
Forget the fact that this film was a science fiction blockbuster during Spielberg’s heyday, when he was making a string of hits from “Jaws” until the third “Indiana Jones” film. As much as this movie touches the general mainstream audience, it is at its heart, a kids’ film. Simply put, “E.T.” is the story of a boy and his dog… only without any hair.
Given the gap from the original release to now, I’m looking at the film with a different eye. I’m now in my early 40s, a parent myself to a boy who has recently turned eleven himself. I see a lot of the warts on “E.T.” more than I ever did. It’s cheesy as all get-out. It’s corny, too. The parents shown in the movie are absentee at best and dangerously irresponsible at worst (though this was a common thing in the movies of the 80s).
However, among all that corniness, there’s a great little movie. It still pays smoothly and cheerfully. Featuring comic book logic and an race of aliens that are more simplified than the whitewashed abductors in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.” still has plenty of charm that makes it a fantastic film to enjoy with the family. Until the next generation format, this is a good movie to have in your library if you have any children in your family.
The Blu-ray comes with several new bonus features, including the new “Steven Spielberg & E.T.” and “The E.T. Journals” which feature behind-the-scene footage from the set. Additional vintage features include deleted scenes, marketing materials and the featurettes “A Look Back,” “The Evolution and Creation of E.T.,” “The E.T. Reunion,” “The Music of E.T.” and “The 20th Anniversary Premiere.”
The Blu-ray also includes access to UltraViolet streaming, and Digital Copy.