Review: E.T. - 20th Anniversary Edition

Posted by: Jeremy Maron  //  March 29, 2002 @ 6:38pm

Filed under: Movie Reviews 

You walk into a movie theatre and you are greeted by the sight of dozens upon dozens of children holding balloons. Their young voices are piercing the air in a collective whine, and it is your second nature to shudder and briefly consider getting a refund or exchanging your tickets for a film with a harsher rating. However, sometimes this second nature is closed-minded. In the screening of E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (20th Anniversary Edition) I attended, there was an extremely large number of young children, and I admit I felt a sense of dread when I walked in. However, much to my delight, this young crowd was so silent during the screening it was eerie. I feel that this silence serves as a testament to E.T.'s ability to enrapture audiences from very young to very old.

For those who don't know, E.T. is about an Extra Terrestrial (E.T.) who is left on earth by his fellow aliens, and is adopted by a young boy named Elliot. E.T. inevitably is brought in as a member of Elliot's family, but is soon pursued by government officials.

There is not much difference between this re-release and the version that Steven Spielberg greeted audiences with in 1982. Some of the effects look more modern and some guns have been digitally replaced with walkie talkies, but for the most part, this E.T. is a perfect example of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". We are now used to much more elaborate special effects than E.T. offers, but the inherent simplicity here is just too beautiful to improve upon.

To see E.T. himself is to be reminded why he was such a huge phenomenon. I remember my cousin Steven even had an E.T. birthday cake many years ago. He (E.T., not my cousin) is, I think, one of the "cutest" non-Disney creations (or perhaps, general creations) in cinematic history. The relationship that grows between E.T. and Elliot's family defies you to not light up inside (all puns intended), and this feel-good message transcends any "dated" medical jargon that may overly permeate some points of the movie.

Considering this is a re-release with not much difference, one may ask whether or not it is worth seeing again. Even though through the magic of home theatre, one may have seen E.T. many times since it left theatres a couple of decades ago, this event still warrants a venture out to the cinema. I don't care how good some may claim home speakers to be, John Williams' magical and majestic score cannot sound as good at home as it does in the theatre. With the kids, without the kids, on a date, with parents or grandparents, or even on your own (yes, some people can go to a movie on their own without feeling inadequate), E.T. is a warmhearted masterpiece which you owe it to yourself to see.

Tags: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, E.T., Steven Spielberg, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore, John Williams

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