Many of you will remember seeing E.T. The Extra Terrestrial when it first graced our screens on 11 June 1982. Some of you will have been children and some may have been of a more mature age like myself who actually took children to see it. Who could forget E.T.’s outstretched hand of friendship? Well, like all classics of late, it has been digitally enhanced, the John Williams’ soundtrack re-mastered and the film re-released for new and old audiences to appreciate.
On today’s scale E.T. is an intimate epic and some consider it to be Spielberg’s masterpiece. We are spared the over-the-top special effects that characterise most contemporary films dealing with extra-terrestrials. This film is really about the magic of childhood and is a sweet, almost quaint attempt to touch the child in all of us. Here children are portrayed as na? and uncritical, they just accept. Adults are too harassed and caught up to even really see the real E.T.
Six-year-old Drew Barrymore is outstanding. E.T was her third feature and although she is now only 26 she has made more than 30 films. She won a BAFTA for her performance in E.T. Henry Thomas, the 10-year-old who brilliantly played Elliott, the boy who befriends E.T, is still acting and will be next seen in Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York. The original E.T. won a swag of awards including four Oscars.
The film still holds up after 20 years bearing in mind that E.T. was a handmade character, not a computer-generated special effect. So grab a kid or your nearest and dearest and relive old memories or just marvel at a film that was part of so many childhoods.