E.T. came out in 1982 and was a monster hit. I still remember how long that movie played in theatres, it seemed like it would never go away! I saw it twice and was a huge fan. How many movies do you remember seeing 32 years ago?? I had the stuffed toys, the glow in the dark finger, action figures, and even the Atari game (god help me). I also did the ride at Universal Studios which was only ok. The performances are great from Dee Wallace Stone to the adorable Drew Barrymore. This is considered one of Steven Spielberg’s best and I can’t argue with that. You can just feel the passion that was put into it.
While I love this sweet little story of a boy befriending a lost alien, does that mean it doesn’t have things I don’t like in it? Of course not. Here now are five things I didn’t like in E.T.
#5.Elliott is a jerk (for the first ten minutes)
I know he is our hero and I like him for the majority of the film, but man is Elliot a jerk when this movie begins. I know, he’s a little kid but the way he hurts his mothers feelings and takes no notice of that is just cold. When his brother yells at him, rightfully so, Elliot storms out. Yes, I know his parents are separated which is tough and I know this can be how little kids act and I know this is all setting up the change in character by the end….but man I can’t help but watch that dinner scene and think what a little creep that kid is.
#4.Special Edition Extras
Ok, this is cheating a bit but let’s discuss the changes Spielberg made to this movie when it was re-released in 2002. First, the change I kind of approve of with the guns. Yeah it makes no sense from a story point of view, but who would go after five kids with rifles? That change made sense to me. What didn’t make sense were the extra scenes which were put into the movie. One involves E.T. in a bathtub and there was another. Problem is that these were done digitally, and just does not blend with the rest of the movie. It looks computer generated and is just distracting. Since the film was restored when it was re-released again, this one probably isn’t just me.
#3.A Speak N Spell? Really???
I commented awhile back that I have no problem with product placement in movies. But once in awhile one will just bug me. The Reese’s Pieces are a nice touch, but the movie loses a bit when E.T. uses a freaking Speak N Spell to set up his comm link to his home. I mean, really? Forgetting how dated that makes this movie, who here remembers those? I had one, but it’s just a little to farfetched. But it’s a small problem and one easy to overlook, so I guess I am just nitpicking.
#2.Saving The Frogs
I never cared for this scene. Two reasons I guess. One, I hate frogs. They are slimy and gross and I can’t stand them. The other reason, I don’t get it. I understand E.T. and Elliot have a psychic link here. Ok, that’s fine. When E.T. drinks beer it makes Elliot drunk. Ok, that kind of makes sense. E.T hits his head and Elliot feels it. Sure I get that. Then E.T. starts watching the TV and I guess what he sees on the TV somehow gets into Elliot’s head, but instead of seeing the TV show in his head gets the idea to reenact what is happening? Even though E.T. is just watching he isn’t doing the stuff. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but this isn’t what happened before. Elliot didn’t get up to get a beer in class he just felt the effects. I am sure this scene is probably a popular one and I can see the charm but for me, it’s a fast forward moment all the way.
#1.When E.T. Flatlines—Good Freaking God!!!!
Les reminded me of this scene recently and I decided it was time to finally talk about it. So imagine you’re a young kid enjoying this little heartwarming story of a little alien. When suddenly the brother finds a half dead E.T. lying the ditch. Ouch. The mother freaks out after seeing him but suddenly the house is invaded and wrapped in cellophane! Well, OK that was tough but not so bad. Then we get to the alien autopsy or whatever they were doing with E.T. on the table. Well, a little dark. Then the flowers die indicating so is E.T……and WTF????? This scene…..this scene is guaranteed to make any kid cry their eyes out! I have a cousin who saw this and was flat out scared! The scene is basically just as I said, E.T. flatlining while the doctors try to save him somehow. What made it worst was Elliott and the way he was freaking out, yelling at everyone. It makes perfect sense of course, we see him caring more about E.T. than himself which completes his character arc that stated in that dinner scene, but wow! It was his ability show emotion that got Henry Thomas the role, and he really showed it in that scene! Of course as an adult I get it, E.T. is severing the link between him and Elliott to save the kids life and it is kind of a beautiful moment. But as a kid….yikes! Then to top it off, we get the scene where Elliott has to go say goodby to his body. Um….what the hell?? The good news is that E.T. is really alive and the mood takes a quick shift from depressing back to fun. That moment we first see E.T. alive is fantastic and leads to one of the best climax’s of any movie. That awesome bike chase scene!! But that ten minutes or whatever before we get to that climax is a real tough watch.
But I gotta tell you, this movie may have its flaws (like any movie) but man what it does right it really does right. As I said that bike chase scene is just fantastic, giving us images which have become iconic, and the John Williams score is near perfect. The movie is a fantastic blend of laughs, suspense, action, and of course heart. And it ends exactly where it should, no sequel needed though I have to admit I sometimes wonder whatever became of that family. Put simply, I adore this movie!