Everybody loves E.T. So an alien is left behind on Earth, and is seeking shelter. A young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) decides to help by keeping him under wraps and looking after his safety, as many of the adults just wouldn’t understand. Now this is a classic that I really didn’t grow up with. Almost all of my peers around the same age bracket harbor an adoration for E.T., but I didn’t actually experience it for my first time until just a few years back. I thought it was decent when I finally watched it, but didn’t really see what the big fuss was about. As the years have passed, I’ve grown fonder of this little alien who dresses in human clothing.
He’d make for pretty fierce competition on RuPaul’s Drag Race, too.
Now I will be the first to admit, the reason why my goodwill for E.T. has developed has a lot to do with the charming attraction at Universal Studios. The ride itself smells like a childhood basement in the best way possible, and if nostalgia had a smell, I feel like it would smell like the maze that you walk through to board the ride. The one thing that you have to understand about E.T. is that it is a kid’s movie. It’s not much more than a simple boy and his dog story, and it is geared toward pre-teenagers… although nowadays I don’t know if they would have the attention span for E.T., with the desensitization of fast paced video games and cartoons. Regardless, Steven Spielberg flat out knows how to craft a film, and he goes that extra mile where a normal director would probably cut a corner.
Spielberg manages to make this otherwise creepy puppet endearing, which is no small feat.
While E.T. has grown on me throughout the years, I don’t think it is a perfect film. For one thing, I do feel that it runs a touch on the long side, and while there is never a point where it grinds to a halt, there is a stretch where it slows down considerably between the second act and the bicycle finale. This is a movie that has inspired many other projects, some with great reception (Stranger Things) to others that think that the whole point was product placement (Mac and Me). Will E.T. forever stand the test of time? That remains to be seen, but it is still a staple of many a childhood, and for that, it deserves credit.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) ****
– Critic for Hire