E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world
Too bad movies can't be rated on their cuteness because if they could this would definitely be a 10. As classic of a childhood movie as there ever has been, E.T. more than excels at accomplishing its goal of being an innocent and feel good children's sci-fi movie. Innocent. I think that is definitely the best word to describe this movie. Everything about it is just so happy and, well, innocent! A trait that most modern movies have all but lost, E.T. brings us back to a different age of movies. An age not defined by explosions and special effects, but instead an age defined by creativity and ingenuity. Now believe me, I love modern sci-fi flicks just as much as the next guy, and there were definitely points here where the movie's age showed, but what matters in E.T. is its story. And boy does it have a fascinating story. So let's dive into it shall we?
First off, the writing, directing, and editing all deserve an excellent tag. Written by arguably the most historically elusive writer in Hollywood, Melissa Mathison delivers her crown jewel, telling a loving story of childhood and homesickness. Not to be overlooked though is the direction of not-so-elusive director Steven Spielberg. Probably heard of him, right? Well, if people didn't know his name at the time because of works like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Raiders of the Lost Arc, they definitely knew his name after E.T. See what Spielberg and his crew excelled at at the time was bringing things that no one had ever seen before to the screen through the latest technological achievements at his good friend George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic. Spielberg showed off this skill with the mechanical shark in Jaws, but that paled in comparison to E.T. Despite the success of Star Wars Episode V and the puppet Yoda, many were still skeptical at the thought of having a puppet create a fake character and have that be a pivotal part of your movie. However Spielberg and ILM masterfully created a phenomenal character in E.T. He is kind, loving, adorable, and funny. It is incredible to watch how much emotion this character who was a puppet on the set of the movie conveys and how much the child actors interact and connect with him.That's the other plus: the child-actors here are incredible. It's just a shame that only one of them, Drew Barrymore, would have a career following E.T. These three children, played by Barrymore, Henry Thomas, and Robert MacNaughton are asked to do so much here. To not only make E.T. feel like a real character, but to also have their own feelings and emotions and connect with the audience. And they pass with flying colors. Some of the later scenes had me in tears because of their phenomenal performances. I don't do that guys! I rarely am moved to the point of tears in a movie, but I was in E.T. Oh ya and on top of everything else, there is a phenomenal score underlying the entire movie, with one of the more memorable themes out there. Thank you for that, John Williams. I could seriously do a whole bit on why I feel John Williams is the greatest film composer of all time, but I won't. I'll just say he's the greatest film composer of all time. Ok? Ok. End of discussion.
Now, this movie is not perfect. Coming in at 115 minutes, the movie is a little long with a bit of a slow-developing first act, and on top of that the other humans introduced in the second and third acts of this movie feel rushed and underdeveloped. It's as if Spielberg felt he needed a "bad guy" in the movie because every movie has to have a bad guy. Their motivations aren't explained and they flip-flop back and forth with their intentions. Other than that, this movie is virtually flawless. Oh ya and other than certain scenes looking rather dated, but this is to be expected from a movie that is 32 years old, right? Despite this, this movie is an incredibly enjoyable adventure. One that I would not mind seeing again and again.
The Critique: a timeless classic, E.T. is a movie that everyone can watch to remember the child inside of them.
The Recommendation: A must-see for anyone who, well, breathes.
The Verdict: 9/10 Awesome
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