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Review by Steve Rhodes
4 stars out of 4
Steven Spielberg's much beloved film treasure, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, is
coming to the big screen in a theater near you in celebration of its twentieth
anniversary. If you see it there, your heart will likely soar just like
Elliot's does when E.T. lifts them both into the air on Elliot's bike.
Real classics improve with age as does E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, but, just to
make sure that the film is in tip-top form, Spielberg has tweaked it some by
adding a few new scenes, including a hilarious bathtub one, improving the
special effects some and remixing the sound to take better advantage of today's
speaker systems. The reality, however, is that the original was already great
so the improvements aren't that important. The real treat is being able to see
the movie on the big screen again. (It should be pointed out that a widely
reported change, the removal of the infamous "penis breath" epithet, did not
happen. It's still there to worry worry-wart school administrators about the
appropriateness of showing the movie at school.)
As most of us know by now, E.T. is an alien who is accidentally left behind on
earth. With gigantic, soulful eyes and arms so long that his hands drag the
ground, E.T. is easily the most adorable alien ever to grace the screen. A sad
but sweet creature, he waddles his way to a house where three kids, Elliot
(Henry Thomas), Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and Gertie (Drew Barrymore), are
sort of watched over by their busy mom, Mary (Dee Wallace). Like most parents,
she's oblivious to the obvious for way too long.
Elliot is the first to discover E.T., whom he treats rather like the world's
most fascinating stray dog. When they first meet, it's not clear who is more
scared. With eyes almost as big as E.T.'s, Thomas could have stolen the show
were it not for Barrymore. Her sassy rendition of a big mouthed little charmer
lays waste to anyone else who might try to upstage her. If every kid were this
cute, we'd have nothing but kids' movies at the multiplex. But even she is
outshined by E.T., who redefines cute.
The movie, which is much slower paced than most movies today, especially kids'
pictures, contains some great lines and wonderful sight gags. The best of these
is E.T.'s hiding amongst a bunch of stuffed animals.
You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll have a great time. Be like Gertie, who can
never keep a secret. Tell everyone you know that they don't want to miss this
rare opportunity to view this great motion picture on the big screen.
E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL runs 2:00. It is rated PG for "language and mild
thematic elements" and would be a great choice for all ages.
My son Jeffrey, almost 13, gave it *** 1/2, commenting on how extremely funny
the film is. His friend John, age 13, gave it *** 1/2 as well. He liked the
new scenes but thought E.T.'s motions aren't as good as they used to be. John's
twin Steven, gave it ****, saying that it is his favorite film. He thought the
changes made the movie slightly more dramatic and less scary. (Note: The guns,
which used to appear briefly, have been digitally changed to walkie-talkies.)
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes