on August 6, 2011
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
I had been searching for a long time for this movie to show to my 6 year old grandson, and was excited to find it on Amazon.ca. And it didn't disappoint - my grandson laughed through most of the DVD and wants to watch it again. It is a nice change to find a wholesome movie that a child can watch and which can be equally enjoyed by adults. When my children were young they loved this film, and it hasn't lost it's magic over the years!
on August 2, 2006
I saw this movie in my school gymnasium when it was first released. All my teachers in the school knew that E.T. would be an especially good film that the entire school should watch. So everyone from Junior kindergarden to grade 8 was piled in to see this magical film. At the time i was in J.K. All i can remember from that day was crying uncontrollably. I knew i missed a lot of the film due to my frequent running to the bathroom for more kleenexes. Well, i just bought the collector series DVD recently thinking now i can finally watch the entire movie. Did you know i still ran frequently to the bathroom for more kleenexes?
This movie is a masterpiece. It tugs at your heartstrings and makes you examine your feelings on a visceral level. For me, E.T. was my first experience with the prospect of dying. Because he was so kind and lovable to see him lying in a ravine near death was hard to watch. I think this is a great first movie for kids to be introduced to difficult topics like death and rebirth. Even as an adult it made me examine my relationships and how i relate to the people in my life. It's a movie about self discovery and acceptance of things that may not be in your realm of understanding but deserve the same amount of compassion as anyone else.
E.T. is a wonderful alien that shows human children the meaning of love and acceptance despite outward appearances. That is a lesson worth remembering for young and old alike.
I would shout out to the mountains, down to the valleys, and into outerspace if i could. But please take a look at this movie once and you'll love it forever. A definite keeper and its not dated in the 1980s. You can watch this movie and feel as if it was just recently released. The digital remastering is superb and the acting is tremendously good. Watch it you won't regret it! A definite add on to your movie library.
on February 5, 2004
I will always remember Steven Spielberg hosting interviews during documentaries of his life detailing stories of himself being misunderstood as a child, which says in a nutshell a passage in life all of us can relate to. So it was his inspiration to transfer that simple idea into such an unforgettable film as E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL. Melissa Matheson's screenplay is among one of the most remarkable achievements ever accomplished in cinema history. It is so simple and yet so compelling. The story of young Elliott who is a simple boy from Elementary School, longing for companionship with the separation of his parents. He lives with his Mother Mary (Dee Wallace Stone in one of her very first), older brother Michael (Robert Macnaughton), and younger sister Gertie (7-year old Drew Barrymore). One day he gets the shock of his life when an alien from outer space crash lands on Earth to pay him a visit he will never forget.
So simple, and yet so compelling. As such it is a story for the audience to never forget. Steven Spielberg has been an inspiration for future filmmakers to come, and perhaps will always be remembered for such films as the INDIANA JONES trilogies, SCHINDLER'S LIST, and the many other films to follow. That is the reason I think E.T. is easy to become forgotten about every now and then because in today's film culture it becomes so simple to neglect the subleties invigorated into crafting such films that inspire others and take inspiration from simple ideas everyone can relate to.
There is humor and drama aplenty, Elliott showing E.T. simple things such as Star Wars action figures, watching television, or moments while away at school while E.T. finds his way around the house, Elliott begans hallucinating into his very thoughts. So their personalities become combined as one. It weaves the theme of being protective and caring as friends, as Elliott vows to protect E.T. from the government officials and safe from sunlight. The DVD is a real treat as it includes such delights as:
A special introduction by Steven Spielberg
Live performance of John Williams' 2002 orchestra
The original 1982 and enhanced 2002 versions
"Spotlight on Location" featurette
The Reunion: The cast and filmmakers discuss the impact of the films
The Evolution and Creation of ET: hundreds of production photographs, conceptual drawings and original advertising in an interactive environment
DVD-ROM features with Total Axess includes behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and more
Widescreen anamorphic format
Such an extraordinary film to date and even more so because it helped launch the careers' of many famous faces today not only Drew Barrymore, but C. Thomas Howell, and for those of you unfamiliar with movie trivia - that's 13 year old Erika Eleniak playing the girl in class Elliott can't take his eyes off. A sure winner - which should never be forgotten! Why aren't there more like this?
on December 4, 2003
I was a boy of 7 the first time I saw E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and I remember being so completely engrossed in the story and so completely moved by the tender relationship between E.T. and his human friend, Elliot, that I longed to see the film again. Little did I know that it would be over 10 years before the film would be released for sale in any form.
As an adult, I had the privilege of taking my son to see this same film in the theaters. The new release, which featured scenes that had been filmed but never seen, was as much a treat for me as it was for him. I found that E.T. had lost none of its innocence, none of its poignancy, and none of its beauty in the 20 years it had been out of the theaters. In fact, it brought with its anniversary a new found wonder-that a generation that had changed so much in 20 years could and would still embrace a film that focused on love, innocence and friendship as its common themes.
I was also thrilled when Stephen Spielberg released his classic film on DVD later that same year.
This collection is great. It features the film in its original format, and in its 20th anniversary reworking, with new effects and scenes added to enhance the classic that the world knew and loved. While some critics have argued that the changes and additions detract from the movie, I think that they are fun, and add an element of joy to moviegoers who were already familiar with the film. For those that had never seen it before, the new scenes do nothing to detract from the film, or alter the storyline, and so their addition should be of no consequence at all.
For those of you who aren't familiar with E.T. (is there anyone out there who isn't?), it is the story of an alien who is left behind on Earth, after his spaceship is discovered by the U.S. government and departs before he makes his return to the craft. It is the story of a boy who befriends this alien and learns that love has no earthly bounds. It is the story of children, who unite to help save the little alien, E.T., from his would-be government captors and return him to his own people.
The movie features state-of-the-art effects from its era, and the newly released special edition also features cutting edge effects from today, enhancing the film where limitations of technology left some scenes looking less than realistic. With a soundtrack that has been enhanced by Academy Award Winning Composer John Williams (who wrote the original score in 1982), this film has a fresh look that makes it look as current as any film shot today.
The DVD collection does contain extras, including an hour-long reunion video that was shot for the re-release of E.T. in 2002. The video features the original cast, reunited for the first time since the movie made its debut in 1982. The interviews offer insights into the making of the film along with the dynamic relationships the cast and crew had with each other.
This is a great movie for the whole family. It is one of those rare films that audiences of all ages will enjoy. It is truly a piece of cinema magic, with a heartfelt story at its core.
on September 26, 2003
Okay, I have to be honest. In 1982, when Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial first came out, I was not impressed. I thought it was just another science fiction film, and I really didn't see what was so special about it. Never mind that it was the biggest box office draw of its time; I also skipped out on Star Wars until I was introduced to that series three years ago.
However, after watching the 20th Anniversary Edition on the 2-Disc Limited Collector's Edition recently, I now understand why this movie touched the hearts of millions. Unlike most aliens-from-space movies, E.T. was about a gentle botanist who is stranded when his ship has to flee from government investigators. Frightened and alone three million light years from home, the little alien befriends nine-year-old Elliott (Henry Thomas) who is coping with the recent separation of his parents. Elliott enlists the aid of his older brother Mike (Robert McNaughton) and younger sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) in an attempt to keep him hidden, not only from their mother Mary (Dee Wallace) but also from the mysterious government agent Keys (Peter Coyote).
Because nearly everyone knows the story by heart, I just want to focus on what caught my eye about this heartwarming movie. First, the scenes early in the first act where we see Mary's house overrun by Mike's group of role playing buddies. When I saw that, my mind went back in time to my eldest son's 16th birthday party when his friends stayed the night; they didn't smoke inside the house like the kids in E.T. do, but the house was a mess! Second, I was absolutely taken aback by how quickly Elliott overcomes his initial fear and completely bonds with the strange-looking alien. To see this kid who's still hurting with the loss of his dad accepting E.T. without regard to what he looks like or where he's from -- that's what made me realize just how good this Steven Spielberg family classic truly is.
Adding to the magic of Melissa Mathison's endearing screenplay are beautiful special effects (updated slightly yet wonderfully with CGI visuals by Industrial Light and Magic for the 2002 edition), a brilliant Oscar-winning score by composer John Williams, and fantastic performances from every cast member, especially from Thomas, McNaughton, and Barrymore. Those three really made me believe that they were siblings caught up in E.T.'s adventures on Earth.
This Universal 2-Disc Limited Edition release contains both the 20th Anniversary version with the digtal retouching and restored scenes and the original 1982 theatrical version in a single, reasonably priced package. Its special features include an introduction by the director, footage from the live performance of an orchestra performing the score as the film plays, and a reunion of the cast and filmmakers, who give their insights on the film and its legacy.
When you watch the scene where Elliott is "drunk" in his science class while preparing to dissect some frogs, listen carefully to the teacher's voice. The actor who made this uncredited cameo should sound very familiar, since he made several films directed by Steven Spielberg.
on September 10, 2003
Before Steven Spielberg tackled racial issues in films like THE COLOR PURPLE and AMISTAD, he had made a film that extols the beauty of understanding and friendship between different races and cultures. It was a seemingly innocuous fantasy called E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL, about a little boy who braves language and other barriers to develop a spiritual kinship with an outer space alien stranded on Earth. The success of this film is in no small part due to the well-developed and convincing portrayal of E.T., a grotesque-looking figure who becomes an understanding companion, a wise older friend, a mischievous creature at times, and yet ultimately a saintly, noble being. This is a rare film that offers a poignant celebration of our good natures.
Just as he made an "enhanced version" of CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE 3RD KIND in 1980, Spielberg re-released E.T. in 2002 with what I would consider pretty extensive modifications to the 1982 version. Many of the changes are harmless, such as the various re-touchings of backdrops for greater realism, refinements of some special effects shots, the addition of a scene of E.T. taking a bath (to show more of its playfulness), and the significantly re-shot flying sequences that quite seamlessly match the originals. The removal of the shot that suggests a shotgun is to be used against E.T. and the boy doesn't bother me, as it does others. I remember in my first viewing back in '82, I thought the idea of any physical menace to E.T. was needlessly threatening, since the possibility of E.T's capture by scientists was already terrible enough.
Some of the changes in the '02 version, while harmless, are unnecessary. In the first shot of the spaceship, it emits blue lights, whereas in the '82 version, they are red (the film's emblematic color). The word "terrorist" has been eliminated from an off-screen dialog, and replaced with the rather odd "hippie." Just before the first flying sequence, the boy plunges down the cliff several feet further than he does in the '82 version, making his movement look a little less fluid.
Some of the changes, however, are ill-advised. The opening sequence has been revised to show more of E.T., including an added medium shot that shows its entire body. In the '82 version, we never get a good look at the alien during this sequence, so that in a close-up view a few scenes later, we are genuinely startled by its appearance. The least desirable changes are the ones that enhance E.T.'s facial expressions and body movements. The close-up view of a frightened E.T. in the boy's backyard early in the film has been re-created entirely with computer-generated images (CGI). The overzealous CGI artists have given E.T. a lot of exaggerated body movements, and the result not only doesn't nearly have as much impact as the spooky and haggard mechanical E.T. in the '82 version, but it looks rather comical and cartoon-like. In fact, throughout the '02 version, whenever E.T. has any strong emotion, the CGI enhancements fail considerably in capturing the precise tone of E.T.'s disposition. They either make it look a little too agile, a little too cartoonish, too silly, and a little too physically demonstrative that is unfit for the gentle nature of the film.
Fortunately, the 3-disc "Ultimate Gift Set" DVD (which is actually a 4-disc set, with 3 DVDs and 1 music CD of the film's soundtrack) and the cheaper 2-disc DVD set have both the '82 and '02 versions. Both versions have restored video transfers that look identical in quality. (The folks at the DVDFile site did notice minor differences in the two transfers, however.) The Dolby Digital and DTS audio tracks sound terrific, with the DTS track offering a little more "oomph." Mysteriously, the Ultimate Gift Set has no DTS track for the '82 version. This is not a error, for the specifications on the box clearly state that only the '02 version has a DTS track. The cheaper 2-disc set does have DTS tracks for both '82 and '02 versions. Both the Ultimate Gift Set and the 2-disc set have a separate audio track of a live recording of the '02 theatrical premiere, complete with cheers and applauses from the audience and a score conducted live by John Williams. Note that this is not an isolated music track. You still hear the film's dialogs and sound effects (which sound a little reverberated in the recording environment).
Other DVD extras of note include a 37-minute "Look back" featurette (which is not on the 2-disc set) and a 50-minute featurette "Evolution and Creation of E.T" (2-disc set has a 24-minute version of it) which offer fascinating footage of Spielberg giving direction on the set and present-day reminiscences from the cast and crew. There is a 10-minute featurette (not on 2-disc set) that shows footage of John Williams composing and conducting the E.T. score. There is also a 17-minute footage from '02 theatrical premiere event.
The Ultimate Gift Set also includes a 192-page hard-cover book called "From Concepts to Classic" that is well worth the price. It is replete with photos and drawings, many of which are rarely seen (there is a still from a deleted scene of E.T. entering Mom's bedroom that suggests that E.T. has a crush on her!). There is a section on the many modifications for the '02 version of the film, including many technical details. Also, the complete screenplay of the film ('02 version only) is included. (I also posted a slightly longer version of this review at epinions.com, under the id kevyip.)
on August 25, 2003
I just watched the 2002 reissue of E.T., and then the 1982 original on the other disk. What probably would have been the best combination would be to leave the 1982 version intact, and then add in those couple of deleted scenes.
One change definitely resulted in loss of effect: On Halloween night, mother tells son (1982), "You're not going as a terrorist! You won't get two blocks in this neighborhood" (approximate quote). In 2002, "terrorist" is changed to "hippie," and the line is left out of the English subtitles.
Maybe "terrorist" is no longer as funny as it was in 1982. But "hippie" doesn't cut it in the context. If you don't want to use "terrorist," then change it to "serial killer" or something similar. That maintains the dark humor that was intended.
Otherwise, it was great to have both versions available in one package, and all those extras: especially the feature on making the film and the one on the reunion. Spielberg is extremely comfortable in these kinds of interviews and presents himself in a vivid, down-to-earth manner.
on June 27, 2003
One of my favorite films has always been Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, his gentle fable about the unlikely friendship between a boy and a funny-looking botanist from another planet...maybe from another galaxy.
Working from a screenplay by Melissa Mathison (from a story penned by the director), Spielberg tells a very personal tale about the effects of divorce on children (a theme he explores later in 2002's Catch Me If You Can) and adds a wonderful science-fiction twist.
We all know the story by heart: an alien botanist is stranded on Earth when his ship has to flee from government agents led by "Keys" (Peter Coyote). Frightened and alone, the alien is discovered hiding in an L.A. home's tool shed by Elliott (Henry Thomas), a smart 9 year old who is having a hard time coping with his parents' recent divorce. Elliott, his brother Mike (Robert McNaughton) and sister Gertie (a pre-Charlie's Angel Drew Barrymore) befriend the strange being they'll eventually name E.T. and will help him "phone home."
Audiences the world over were won over by this simple yet touching film, and by the end of its theatrical run it had become the biggest box office hit of its time, surpassing Star Wars, the previous top-grosser. With its mix of comedy, suspense, and Walt Disney-like fantasy, E.T. received both popular and critical acclaim, including several Academy Award nominations, including Best Score for John Williams' wonderful music, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. Although E.T. won the best score and original screenplay awards, Sir Richard Attenborough's drama about India's most famous leader beat out Spielberg and E.T. in the latter categories.
Last year, Amblin Entertainment and MCA/Universal released a 20th Anniversary Edition of E.T. in theaters. With its soundtrack digitally remastered and some scenes tweaked with computer graphic imaging, a new generation of viewers saw this family classic on the big screen. And in November of 2002, E.T. finally was released on the DVD format.
The DVD 2-disc set includes both versions of the film, a rare event for DVD releases. Universal had originally planned to release the 2002 version separately and to sell the 1982 version in a more expensive boxed set. Spielberg heard of this and vetoed the plan, thereby allowing everyone to own both versions of his most personal film at a reasonable price.
This is a must-get DVD for Spielberg fans...and for children of all ages.
on July 17, 2002
I was about 2 or 3 when I first met E.T.. I was kind of a lonely kid, and fell in love right off. I had t-shirts, dolls, and the novels/storyboooks. I watched the movie over & over, it was released several times in the theater, and then released to VHS (with a snazzy green bar)... It begins and I found out the same scenes still scare me (the scene in the field when Elliot first sees E.T.) and I still cry for last 45 minutes of the movie. I liked the deleted scenes, in the bathtub scene we figure out he's aquatic which explains why he goes to the stream on Halloween. I love the music, I love the 80's references (tons of them from Star Wars to Strawberry Shortcake), I loved, love, and will continue to love this movie for as long as I have breath in me. I don't mind paying $ per DVD. I agree it is steep, but it's the only way to get the original version plus tons of other E.T. stuff. By the way, if you know me, this would make an excellent Christmas present! :D
on December 14, 2010
These movies are excellent to watch in both the original and special edition re-release versions. I love them so much because it is worth getting them even on blu-ray.