Friday, 20 July 2012

Film Review: E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - poster Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Melissa Mathison
Running Time: 115 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Adventure/Drama/Family
UK Release Date: 9th December 1982

Watched on Sky+ Friday 20th July 2012.


A film I have seen many times before, I decided to give it another viewing for old time’s sake. I had forgotten just how compelling a storyteller Spielberg can be; by the time you get to the final third you’re totally engaged with the characters and find yourself completely enthralled! That’s not to say there aren’t a few flaws here and there, but still a very worthy watch. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 6 When an extra-terrestrial (E.T.) becomes stranded on Earth, he befriends a young boy, Elliott. At first he can’t communicate but Elliott takes him into his home and looks after him. He has to tell his older brother, Michael, and his younger sister, Gertie also finds out about him. Elliott and E.T. develop a kind of symbiotic relationship where Elliott can feel what E.T. feels (particularly funny when E.T. finds some beer). This cannot last because E.T. knows he can’t survive for long on Earth for too long, he has to go home. To this end he constructs a kind of radio… but is it too late? The authorities are closing in and E.T.’s health is beginning to fail! I guess I’d better leave it there of the Spoiler police will have me scanning the airways for signs of intelligent alien life (again).

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 5 The thing that struck me as I sat down to watch this film was, although I’ve seen it several times before, I never realised just how good the musical score, by John Williams, was. I’m not just talking about the well known themes, it goes without saying that these are epic, I’m on about the much quieter themes, particularly at the beginning of the film, they are very subtle, but fit the on-screen action perfectly.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 2 It’s not a film with any great performances, although everyone did a pretty good job; Henry Thomas as Elliott was pretty annoying at times, but it has to be said, he was also pretty good at the emotional stuff. Dee Wallace as Mary, the mother, did a pretty good job, as did Robert MacNaughton as Michael. Also worthy of note was Peter Coyote as the government agent, Keys; although he didn’t have an awful lot to do he did it pretty well. For me, the star of the show was a very young Drew Barrymore, who was quite adorable as Gertie.

ÒE.T. The Extra-TerrestrialÓ is phoning home again, 25 years later.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen Steven SpielbergÕs depiction of the heartbreaking, hopeful encounter between a diminutive alien visitor and two distinct groups of human beings, adults and children, on Thursday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  Several members of the filmÕs cast and crew will participate in a panel discussion after the anniversary screening. Pictured here is Henry Thomas with E.T. in a scene from the film.

Photo courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library I said earlier there were a few flaws which, for me anyway, prevented this film getting a higher score. One of these was the design of E.T.; yes I know he’s quite iconic now but I always felt it looked like a small man in a plastic suit. He’s also far too cute. The other thing that lets it down a bit is the CGI, I know it’s only really used in a couple of scenes and the technology was in its infancy back then, but I’m afraid modern equipment does show it’s limitations. As far as the story, the production and the direction of the film goes, all top notch and well worthy of all the praise it’s got over the years. And even with these ‘flaws’, as I’ve called them it’s still well worth the couple of hours it takes to watch!... RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 155,657 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 94/100: (Based on 26 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 98/100 (based on 92 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 65/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 30,829,669 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 8 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Michael: Maybe it was an iguana.
Elliot: It was *no* iguana.
Michael: Maybe, um - You know how they say there are alligators in the sewers?
Gertie: Alligators in the sewers.
Mary: All we're trying to say is, maybe you just probably imagined it. It happened...
Elliot: I couldn't have imagined it!
Michael: Maybe it was a pervert or a deformed kid or something.
Gertie: A deformed kid.
Michael: [mockingly] Maybe an elf or a leprechaun.
Elliot: It was nothing like that, penis-breath!
Mary: [laughs in shock] *Elliot!* Sit down.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 7 Michael: [as Yoda] You have absolute power! Yes!

Elliott: I'm keeping him.

E.T.: E.T. phone home.

Michael: We're all going to die and they're never going to give me my license!

Elliot: He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.
Greg: Well, can't he just beam up?
Elliot: This is *reality*, Greg.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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