I know what you’re thinking…
What?! This guy who claims to be obsessed with movies has never seen a beloved classic like E.T?!
Calm down. Of course I’ve seen E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. But until this past weekend, I’d never seen it on the big screen.
Or had I?
See… here’s the thing… I have this distinct memory of E.T. being the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I’ve never had any way to corroborate this and even the logic doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. After all, the movie was released in 1982, when I’d have only been 2-years-old. But it remained in cinemas for over a year… It was that popular! So maybe I saw it later into its theatrical run. Or maybe my parents took me to a re-release at some point. I asked Mom and she has no idea. I can’t ask Dad… yet…
So what’s the big deal? Seeing a movie I’ve seen dozens of times on the big screen? Well… it’s the big screen. It’s a bigger deal than the screens I’ve had at home throughout my life. And it’s E.T., arguably Steven Spielberg’s finest film to date.
I know… Schindler’s List… Saving Private Ryan… I said arguably.
It was just fun to see it in a theater. And that comes from a guy who could generally take it or leave it when it comes to the theatrical experience these days.
I have to admit that I did tear up on three separate occasions during the film. Aside from the touching good-bye between E.T. and Elliott at the end, it hit me hard when E.T. was sick and again when he died. I knew it was coming. Again… seen it dozens of times by now. But it still got to me.
And can we take a moment to recognize someone who I feel is an unsung hero of this film? Let’s give it up for Michael, the older brother. This kid is a fantastic older brother. Sure, he’s got no qualms about giving his younger siblings a hard time when the occasion calls for it. But he’s standing up for his mom who is going through a separation/divorce when Elliott’s being an insensitive little jerk. He’s protective of Elliott and Gertie and is there for the alien the entire time. He carries the weight of the world without even being asked to. Need proof? Just read his facial expression when he’s on the bus to school the day after Elliott introduces him to E.T.
I love this movie. There are so many great lines peppered throughout. The script is amazing and it is shot beautifully.
Spielberg really knew what he was doing. Next time you watch it, pay attention to the audience perspective and camera angles for the first two-thirds of the film. We get this story through the eyes of Elliott… a child. The only adult whose face we see until the third act is Mary, Elliott’s mother. Every other adult is hidden in shadow or seen only from the waste down until the government officials take over the house. Only then do we see Peter Coyote’s character as someone who wants to help the alien.
Have you seen E.T.? Of course you have… What did you think of it? Did you have a chance to see it on the big screen at any point in time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!