DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Anniversary Edition, Blu-ray (1982/2012)

A poignant and touching film that is a tribute to Spielberg’s cinematic imagination.

Published on October 24, 2012

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Anniversary Edition, Blu-ray (1982/2012)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Henry Thomas, Dee Wallce, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore
Studio: Universal 61123439 [10/22/12] (Combo Pack: Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy+ UltraViolet)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish/French DTS 5.1, English/Spanish/French DD 5.1, PCM stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
D-BOX encoded
Extras: “Steven Spielberg & E.T.,” “The E.T. Journals,” Deleted scenes, “A Look Back,” “The Evolution and Creation of E.T.,” “The 20th Anniversary Premiere,” “E.T. Reunion,” Designs, Photographs and Marketing, Pocket BLU App, BD-Live, more…
Length: 1 hours 55 minutes
Rating: *****

Spielberg reveals in one of the extras that he really didn’t envision this as a sci-fi film but more as a family story, influenced by his own childhood in which his father and mother had separated (but later got back together). He got the idea for the movie while working on the final scene of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which all the little aliens are going back into their ship before taking off. He thought “what if one those little aliens accidentally got left behind on earth?

The lost alien, E.T., develops a strong loving relationship with ten-year-old fatherless Elliot. His siblings are perfect in their parts, and all conspire to hide their sheltering of E.T. from Elliot’s mother, until faceless federal authorities come looking for the alien and eventually attempt to revive him when he becomes ill. Only one of the authorities‘ faces is finally shown, and it is the gentle empathic man who doesn’t try to stop Elliot in getting E.T. back to his ship after E.T. “phoned home.” Then of course there’s the two famous flying bicycles scenes. The basically simple story has great emotional impact and this is surely one of the most memorable family movies one could find.

The multiple discs contain both the original 1982 version, with it’s pre-CGI effects, and the 2002 re-mastered version with some restored footage and special CGI effects. What seemed to make the most difference to me was the hilarious deleted scene in which E.T. falls into the bathtub (and enjoys it!) while Elliot is on the phone. I wish they had included that in the new version. I didn’t notice that much difference between the two versions, but some online criticisms harp on E.T.‘s stiffness in the original film, which was part of his character, while the new CGI version made him more like a Star Wars alien. They also removed the guns the federal authorities carried in the original; which looks to me like a good idea. The score by John Williams is one of his classics, and most enjoyable to hear again. The several extras are also most worthwhile to view.

—John Sunier

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