I was worried about re-watching this movie. I remembered going through phases and depending upon where I was at in my life, my impression of this movie was different each time. To give you an idea, let’s look at past snippets of Rankatrons past where I re-reviewed “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” before I put it under the extremely critical magnifying glass of The Rankatron.
“It made me pee myself. Scarier than the G’nap Smurfs.” – Grade 1 Elementary School Review (1983)
“BORING! SNORE! Do you know what they call E.T. in France? A Royale with E.T., Mofo! No Travolta. No watchie.” –A Whole Box O’ Chocolates Movie Reviews (1996)
“WTF? Twenty Years???? WTF????? I mean. It’s alright. It’s no Matrix. But why bastardize a half-decent classic movie by taking away all the guns? This new Lord of the Rings movie is supposed to have swords and stuff like in Braveheart…speaking of which, I don’t think Lord of the Rings will catch on. I’m hearing it’s going to clock in over 3 hours. That’s about as long as your average baseball game. Pass!” – Adam’s Flicked Up Reviews (2002).
So now we come to today. I’m 8 years more mature (questionable). And 8 more years of movie watching under my ever fluctuating belt. Let’s start with the bad/questionable choices:
- How the heck did Elliott deduce where to throw those chocolaty and peanuty yummy candies in the forest? Did he just spend all day with the world’s largest bag of Reese’s in his backpack going all willy-nilly everywhere? Scavenged his mother’s Halloween candy? But it could’ve been worse…could’ve been E.T cereal. I’d like to think that E.T. and Elliott had a connection that drew them together. But this couldn’t be true because if E.T. had made a connection with the boy then why go through the whole rigmarole of hiding in the forest again.
- That FBI guy with the keys…what was his character’s name? (Searching IMDB…) Keys? His name was Keys? That’s not even trying. So they have an alien named E.T. (for Extra-Terrestrial). They have an FBI guy who wears keys (who’s arguably a main character) named Keys. Why didn’t they just call Elliott “The Boy”? But I’m getting off target…let me start again.
- Keys, the FBI agent. If you find chocolate candy lying around in the woods, don’t eat it! Eating gross stuff at parties might win over the ladies back in university but in the real movie world, you might regret putting certain things in your mouth. Especially since it’s WAY past the 5-second rule. I’m surprised we didn’t see him next scene looking as pale as E.T.
- The final chase scene. I need to set the stage: 5 tweens on BMX bikes try to elude the cops and FBI by cutting through backyards, construction zones and the woods before E.T. saying “Fuck this. We’re flying.” And they launch into the air. So before that happens, two of the BMXers have a brilliant idea to split up. Under normal circumstances, this solid logic would work if they were after all of you. But all the authorities really care about is E.T. and Elliott. So unless there’s a piece of a disembodied alien on each bike, this tactic is incredibly flawed. Did this work?
- YES! For some reason, the cops split their focus and went after two of the bikers instead of going after the alien. I dunno why. I don’t think Spielberg could explain it either. Let’s just rank this up to a “movie suspense-building device”.
- Lastly, to go back to the previous point that E.T. had the ability to make things fly: when he got better, why didn’t he just fly up into the sky back to the woods like a hawk bringing food back to his nest? Why risk Elliott again? Again, this reasoning eludes me. Maybe E.T. is like a young Superman. He only gets his powers from the yellow sun and isn’t familiar with what he’s capable of. Maybe on the flight back home, he’s telling the rest of his alien buddies about how his finger made humans get better and they’re laughing at him out of sheer ridiculousness. “You can fly? Yeah right, Clebort (that’s E.T.’s real name), and could you shoot lasers out of your eyes too? A glowing finger? Are you high? Look me straight into my eyes and tell me you’re not high? You were popping Reece’s Pieces, weren’t you?”
But those are the critical parts. I’m guilty that I’ve focused on them mostly because they’re way too much fun to make fun off. Right Robot Chicken?
Truthfully, this time around, I really found myself getting into this movie. Perhaps that since so much time has passed since I’ve last watched this, I’ve wizened to appreciate it again despite the plot holes.
E.T. is a great mix of storytelling, amusing moments (like the drunk E.T. scene) and touching scenes. The hardest part I found is separating the 5-year old Drew Barrymore from today’s version of sexy Drew. (Only kidding, I just wanted to be able to link a picture of Drew today.) Little Gertie was endearing and full of youthful exhuberance…and then this young actress fell of f the radar doing some forgotten roles (like Poison Ivy) until nearly a decade later when she reinvented herself past her rebellious teens into a classier version of herself…what was that? Oh, she flashed Letterman on his birthday in 1995? Uh-huh. OK…moving on.
Elliott (Henry Thomas) and E.T. played off of each other so well that they became an inseparable duo. The pure emotion of their scenes reminded you of a boy and his dog. Except his dog was an exceptionally intelligent alien who can get drunk faster than a frat girl.
The nods to Star Wars (with little mentions of Yoda, Lando and Boba Fett) were cleverly placed in homage to Spielberg’s buddy, George Lucas.
And the comic scenes were both charming and laugh-out-loud funny at times.
My 2010 review of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial gives me the freedom to admit that, even though this movie isn’t out-of-the-world, it is firmly placed in the upper stratosphere of beautiful movies and are good for the whole family…unless you’re a 7 year old who boy that was similar to me.
8.5 Coors beer cans out of 10.