Friday, March 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 14


After 20 years, 'E.T.' still a heartfelt film

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff

Don't think that just because you are one of the many people who have seen Steven Spielberg's 1982 sci-fi family film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial more than a couple of times that the re-release won't get those childhood laughs and tears going.

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

The re-release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial features enhanced effects and deleted scenes, including the scene above with E.T. and Elliot (Henry Thomas).

The 20th-anniversary edition features a few new scenes and some minor technical changes and, more importantly, gives kids a chance to see
what all the fuss is about.

Some might think watching E.T. on the big screen is not all that big a deal, but it is. Like a piece of history, E.T. is a filmmaking milestone in the
sense that it began the idea of sentimental films being made with audiences of all ages in mind.

Mind you, previous filmmakers had made such attempts, but the overall product Spielberg created from the efforts of child actors and minimal
technological resources has held steady through the years and is surely worth its time.

This version isn't altered to the point where audiences will feel E.T. has gotten 20 years newer. The young characters are spewing out the same
comebacks, the bicycles aren't replaced by the fading scooter trend and guess what ... Henry Thomas wasn't digitally replaced by Haley Joel

Spielberg simply tweaked the editing flaws that only he could have possibly seen in the first version, added a bathtub scene that shows how
long E.T. can hold his breath and replace guns with walkie-talkies.

By the time he helmed E.T., the gifted director had already made a name for himself with the 1975 thriller Jaws and given birth to the
swashbuckling adventurer Indiana Jones with 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark.

For those who've been in solitary confinement for the past 20 years or just abhor the idea of moving pictures as a form of entertainment, E.T. is
about a beer-drinking, cross-dressing, wide-eyed alien who points to the sky with his elongated fingers any chance he gets.

Thomas as Elliot, E.T.'s newfound friend, and Drew Barrymore (she plays the pig-tailed Gertie) give compelling performances for such young
actors. The two were young enough to sue their parents when Spielberg decided to go with them. The idea turned out well for everyone involved,
especially audiences, who are treated to acting that is sure to pull at the heart.

Film purists may have issues with the re-release, but just remember that E.T. is a more entertaining, better-quality film for kids than most of
those released today. If the idea of spending seven dollars to see an old film doesn't bode well with you, it wouldn't hurt at least to rent it for you
or the young ones.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

**** 1/2 (out of five stars)

Rated: PG

Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Berrymore, Dee Wallace

Universal Pictures

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