Pin It

DVD Review - E.T. 

by Marty Demarest

Even though his recent films A.I. and Minority Report have been the mildly disappointing, Steven Spielberg is still a major player in Hollywood, largely because of his past success. And back in 1982 when he broke all box-office records with E.T. and earned that success, he was still making old-fashioned movies that were populated with real people.

Part of E.T.'s brilliance lies in its relatively thin plotline. Barely more than an "alien follows boy home from school" tale, the story's weightlessness allowed Spielberg to infuse every moment of screen time with an honest evocation of childhood. Keeping his camera at the level of his pre-teen protagonists, and only showing the sides of a broken marriage that a child would naturally see, Spielberg took grown-ups into the lives of an emerging generation. And for children, he firmly endorsed the idea that sometimes imagination is your best friend. Forget the other kids on the playground, and don't turn to your family for support -- look to the stars.

This degree of sincerity can't be faked; even a mechanized rubber puppet couldn't ruin it. And his cast, particularly the very real children Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, never once destroys the illusion. They weren't making a "hit movie," they were telling a story.

All of this is painstakingly detailed in the love-fest sections of Universal's two-disc DVD set. Making-of features and interviews about the film's impact are to be expected, but unless you need to have your $30 purchase affirmed, they're not really necessary. What is necessary is the inclusion of both the original version of the film and its slightly modified 20th anniversary incarnation. While the latter merely smoothens out some of E.T.'s mechanical facial expressions and adds a few scenes, the candor and familiarity of the original aren't helped at all by these additions.

There's also a live performance of the score conducted by John Williams. Performing an entire film score live is a masterful feat, and movie music buffs will probably love it. But it's still a minor extra. By including the 1982 original film, as well as by refusing to record a director's commentary track, Spielberg gives us the original with as little contamination as possible. His recent films may suffer from trying to include too much, but this time everything works out.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Friends of Manito Fall Plant Sale

Friends of Manito Fall Plant Sale @ Manito Park

Sat., Aug. 29, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment




Publisher's Note


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation