E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)

E.T.: THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982)
Article 3654 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-1-2011
Posting Date: 8-16-2011
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Featuring Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote
Country: USA
What it is: Children’s science fiction movie

A young boy takes in a stranded extraterrestrial in the hopes of saving him from authorities that are searching for him. He develops a bond with the alien, and tries to help him find a way to return home.

It took this second watching for me to realize it, but I have a soft spot in my heart for this one. It’s one of the few movies from the era that I took the trouble to catch in the theater, and I did so before E.T.’s image was plastered over everything, so my first sight of him was in the movie itself, which I consider a real plus. For years I’ve been expressing some disappointment with the movie due to my problems with certain plot elements (especially with the levitation powers of E.T.), but at least one of my major issues turned out to be due to me misremembering certain details, and I’m glad I gave it a rewatching.

Of those that I’ve seen, this is perhaps Spielberg’s most manipulative film, and as such, I’m always a bit tempted to dismiss it on principal alone. Yet, I can’t deny that while the movie is actually playing in front of me, I find myself totally caught up in the actions and the situations; I laugh when it wants me to laugh, I cry when it wants me to cry. If nothing else, it makes me respect Spielberg’s skill at handling this sort of thing, and the only time I felt the movie pushed too hard while I was watching it was at the appearance of a rainbow near the very end. Once it’s all over, there is the temptation to pick it apart, if for no other reason than to avoid admitting that the movie did a number on me while it was on. But that’s what I did after the first time I saw it, and it still worked just as well on my second viewing. So I think I’ll just let it be and enjoy it for what it is.

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