E.T.: The Extraterrestrial
Review by Rosie
Director: Steven Spielberg
Rating: DEATH STAR!!!
This is a very sweet story. An alien ship has landed in the forest near a California suburb and its occupants, rather than embarking on a violent conquest of our planet, are instead merely collecting samples of the flora. Their arrival does not go unnoticed, however, and shadowy figures arrive on the scene to try to locate the visitors. These large, clumsy, noisy figures manage to come between one of the visitors who wandered too far, and the ship. Try as he might, he cannot get back before his companions are forced to leave without him. Now he is stranded.
The visitor makes his way down into the suburb and hides in the shed in the backyard of a typical home. A young boy, Elliot (Henry Thomas), discovers the Old Botanist -- they accidentally scare each other -- and a bond is formed. The boy befriends the little alien, who is odd looking, but charms Elliot and later his family (and, not to mention, the audience!). The bond grows between them and Elliot starts to experience all of ET's emotions and physical reactions -- ET guzzling Coors beer and the 11 year old Elliot becoming drunk is very funny, as is Elliot's uncontrollable urge to kiss a female classmate, brought on by ET witnessing a kiss in a movie he sees on television. Steven's nod to his friend, George, naturally elicited giggles too.
Elliot's little sister Gert (Drew Barrymore), manages to teach ET a bit of English. The Old Botanist manages to construct a communications device, so he can contact his ship to rescue him. The phrase, "ET phone home," will forever be a part of our popular culture.
But the shadowy figures are closing in. Elliot and ET go back to the forest to send his message, but the government types and scientists catch up to them and invade Elliot's house. ET is greatly weakened in the struggle and despite heroic efforts by the government officials and Elliot's protestations, the little creature appears to die. Elliot is distraught, but miraculously the Old Botanist recovers, excitedly knowing his companions are returning for him. Elliot and his friends, in that famous chase sequence with ET hidden in a bicycle basket, manage to elude the authorities and return to the forest where the alien ship lands. The final goodbye between Elliot and ET *still* brought tears to my eyes.
I first saw this movie when it was originally released and loved it then. I haven't had occasion to watch it since then, even though it was available on video. I was really looking forward to seeing it again, even though Steven succumbed to the same temptation as his friend, George Lucas, and made changes to this 20th Anniversary release. I am happy to report that the changes were almost completely transparent -- at least to me. The only thing I noticed was that ET's face was more expressive than I remembered. John Williams' score was perfect (as always), and will necessitate a trip to the music store or Amazon.com to pick up the soundtrack. I love this movie as much now as I did 20 years ago. Definitely go and see it -- and get the DVD too!