I’m not going to lie, ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ is one of
my all-time favorite movies.
And, despite my love of all things science fiction, it’s not
because it’s an alien movie.
At its heart, ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ is not the story
of a lost alien trying to get home. ‘E.T.’ is the story of a lonely little boy
struggling with his parents’ divorce. He just happens to find an alien in his
backyard while he’s doing it.
Not only is the video transfer flawless – and it is – but Spielberg
did something that a lot of his compatriots would never do: He returned the
film to its original state of being.
What am I talking about?
In 2002, for the movie's 20th anniversary, Spielberg jumped on the digital filmmaking
bandwagon and “updated” ‘E.T.’ with current technology. He got the idea from
his buddy George Lucas – who had recently done the same thing with the ‘Star
In addition to making ‘E.T.’ more flexible and expressive,
Spielberg also digitally removed the guns from one of the penultimate scenes
when the police are chasing E.T. and the boys that are trying to get him back
to his ship.
It just so happens that is my favorite scene in all of movie
history (yes, even ‘Star Wars’ movies). When E.T. sees the guns and Elliott
closes his eyes because he believes he’s going to be shot – I remember being
filled with real terror when I saw the movie as a child. Then I was filled with
real joy when E.T. magically lifted all the boys so they were floating over the
heads of the police who were chasing them.
When Spielberg updated it, he replaced the shotguns with
flashlights. It didn’t invoke the same terror.
What Spielberg did for the 30th anniversary,
though, is listen to his fans. He returned the film to its natural state,
returned the guns to the police officers and let the movie be what it was meant to
be. (Note: Hey, George Lucas, take a cue from your buddy and do the same thing
with the first three ‘Star Wars’ films. I don’t care that you don’t like the
original ewok music at the end of the third film – I happen to love it.)
I’m not much of a crier, but ‘E.T.’ is the only movie that
can always make me cry.
I watch it, knowing that in just a few minutes E.T. is going
to wake-up and Elliott is going to help him escape, and I still cry like a
Not only that, but I can actually recite the entire goodbye
scene – with the appropriate pauses and gestures – from start to finish. That
means from Gertie’s first “I just wanted to say goodbye” to Elliott’s last “Bye”
I remember every gesture and tear.
Yep, I’m a geek.
Watching ‘E.T.’ on Blu-Ray this week reminded me why.
In these days of style over substance, ‘E.T.’ had both – and
those of us that grew up in that era are better for knowing a cute little alien
that just wanted to go home.
What do you think? Are you going to check ‘E.T.’ out on