Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit about a stranded alien and his loving relationship with a fatherless boy (Henry Thomas) struck a chord with audiences everywhere, and it furthered Spielberg's reputation as a director of equally strong commercial sensibilities and classical leanings. Henry Thomas gives a strong, emotional performance as E.T.'s young friend, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore make a solid impression as his siblings, and Dee Wallace is lively as the kids' mother. The special effects almost look a bit quaint now with all the computer advancements that have occurred since, but they also have more heart behind them than a lot of what we see today. --Tom Keogh
Universal pulled a fast one when they placed both the 1982 and 2002 versions of E.T.
on this standard DVD release. The result is an excellent two-disc set that contains nearly all of the material on the higher-priced ultimate edition (minus the handsome packaging). On the disc one bonus menu, you must play through the two-minute introduction to see a short on the 2002 premiere of the film that was accompanied by John Williams conducting a live orchestra. There is an option to see the film with this unique soundtrack. The second disc contains a solid documentary on the making of the film and the reissue with plenty of interviews and cool tidbits. A slide show offers dozens of photographs and sketches, albeit with little descriptive text. Surprisingly, there are no original trailers. Since the movie was painstakingly restored and updated, the sound and picture quality are excellent. Now if we could just get Spielberg to do a commentary track. --Doug Thomas