When there’s a lot of grunting in the bushes in front of a 10-year-old boy, it’s not Jimmy Savile, but E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.
This is quite definitely one of the most well-known films ever made and still a classic even thirty years on. It also brought the attention of seven-year-old Drew Barrymore to the fore, who’s easily gone on to have the biggest career of the whole cast, presuming you don’t count Harrison Ford who shot scenes as the School Principal, which were later cut out of the final version.
I saw it, aged 9, on New Year’s Day 1983. All was quiet on new year’s day, except for some people blubbing in the audience as E.T. was forced to return to his homeland after the snooty government stepped in after a young boy named Elliott found him hiding in his summer house and allowed him to seek refuge in the family home.
Soon after E.T. originally lands, the family are sceptical about the door to the summer house being left open, the footprints in the dust leading Michael to conclude “The coyote’s back again, Mum”, but Elliott has other ideas and after going outside with a torch and hearing grunting in the bushes like a demented Sidney Cooke, he strikes upon a more pleasant revelation and consults the family over dinner while they discuss their Halloween plans.
What follows is a really fantastic film as Elliott happens across a once-in-a-lifetime friend and they begin to learn a great deal about each other and where they each come from.
This 30th Anniversary Special Edition, out on Blu-ray for the first time, marks a sea-change from the 20th Anniversary, which included two new scenes, including one where E.T. takes a bath, plus altered special FX, most noticeable in E.T.’s spaceship and his facial expressions. Alas, in an attempt to be politically-correct, Spielberg had stupidly replaced all the guns with walkie-talkies. Bad idea.
It had also been speculated that Spielberg had removed the line about looking like a “terrorist” when in Halloween fancy dress.
In 2002, the 3-disc edition of the Region 2 release, and also the standard Region 1 DVD, also contained the original 1982 version. Now we’re in 2012, the version we’re presented with here is the 1982 original.
Note: E.T. carries a U-certificate, but the extra, Evolution and Creation of E.T., which has a PG-cert, means the entire boxset carries the higher certificate.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.