Tuesday, July 26, 2011

680. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Running Time: 121 minutes
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Melissa Mathison
Main Cast: Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote


Continuing on with our week (or two) long tribute to Mr. Blockbuster himself, Steven Spielberg, we come to Spielberg's second of his three films about aliens - "E.T."

The film opens in a secluded forest, where a space craft is seemingly getting ready to take off and although they're in the dark, tiny space men seem to be scurrying to get aboard the vessel as government agents race toward them, trying to beat them to the punch. All of the tiny spacemen, save for one, make it aboard the vessel and takeoff, just as the agents get to the location. The one that doesn't make it, hides out in the bushes. Then we're introduced to the humans of our story and the main human, Elliot (Thomas), a ten-year old boy. He has an older brother Michael (MacNaighton) and a younger sister Gertie (Barrymore). While taking out the trash one night, Elliot realizes that there is SOMETHING in the garage, but doesn't stick around to find out what it is. Later, he discovers the tiny spaceman, whom he dubs E.T. (for "extra-terrestrial) and befriends the cute, cuddly creature. Elliot keeps the alien, hiding it from his mother, but revealing it to his siblings and eventually becomes so attached to E.T. that the two begin feeling the same feelings. Of course, cute, cuddly aliens befriending young boys doesn't go unnoticed for long and soon government agents come knocking on the door, ready to take E.T. back to the lab.


Honestly, the last time I watched "E.T.", I had it pegged as something like a "2/10", but this time it won me over. I wouldn't call it the greatest thing on two reels, but it works to an extent and certainly serves it's purpose as a cute movie, meant as entertainment for the whole family. I never saw "E.T." when I was a kid, but I'm sure I would've really dug it back then and even last night I was able to slightly lose myself in the film. The film is incredibly cute and while "cute" might not add up to a "must see" affair, I think everyone should probably see "E.T." at some point in their lives.

If I had to nitpick (which I do, because I always nitpick), then I'd point to a couple of inaccuracies in the script. For starters, I don't think they highlighted the bond between E.T. and Elliot enough. I mean, I get that they were buddies and all, but why did they feel the same feelings? What made that happen? It was almost like the script was being written, that idea was thought of, but they couldn't think of a good excuse, so they just wrote it in without one. Also, why did E.T. start to die toward the end? He disappears for a little while and when they finally find him, he's looks the color of ash and is very sickly and later, he's thought to be dead. What the hell happened to him? Did he encounter a group of rag-tag gangsters, while separated from Elliot? There were a lot of elements of the film, where they just got a little sloppy and just didn't feel like getting in-depth.

The other thing that I really hated, was that they ultimately gave the government agents voices and faces and hey, they weren't so bad after all. I hated that! I loved the whole element of leaving the agents as the villains of the film and keeping them voiceless and faceless and just allowing us to think of them as "those guys who want the cute alien". I liked how, in the beginning, the main agent was only identifiable by the keys that hung from his belt, letting us know that "key/belt man" was the same guy who kept hunting down E.T. Otherwise the film mostly works for me and while I wouldn't give it the highest of recommendations for fellow adults, I would definitely advise adults with youngsters to check it out with their kids, because it's definitely a family movie that will allow adults to have a really good time too. It's got a lot of heart, it's very cute, there's memorable scenes, a fair amount of suspense and fairly decent actors (mostly kids).

RATING: 7/10 "E.T." probably won't be showing up on any TOP 20 lists, but it works to an extent and serves it's purpose and that's worth a shining rating.


July 26, 2011 5:49pm

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