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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial -4K Blu-ray Review

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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

One look at Spielberg’s filmography and it’s hard to imagine the man has ever set a foot wrong. But alas, just before the 1980s dawned, he took a misstep with the (at the time) expensive comedy 1941. Not to rest on his laurels, he doubled down in 81 and 82 and introduced the world to Indiana Jones and an odd, little alien dubbed E.T. Both will be ever-lasting for good reason.

"E.T The Extra Terrestrial is a beautiful masterpiece and one for the ages"


Despite lawsuits and accusations of plagiarism at the time, this film is alleged to be semi-autobiographical and cemented the term ‘Spielbergian’ in the public consciousness—to the tune of almost 800 million dollars when it hit the silver screen in 1982.

Set in every town America, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial tells the story of a young family in the ‘Burbs doing their best after a recent divorce. Elliott (Henry Thomas), the youngest of three, is sent outside to wait for a pizza delivery, and happens upon a mysterious visitor in the backyard. Their introduction quickly goes from mutual fear and apprehension to a deep connection and the purest love that could be found. As E.T.’s presence is discovered by others, from Elliott’s siblings (Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton), to his mother (Dee Wallace) and eventually the faceless government agents, that love is put to the ultimate test and proves unbreakable.

For a story about a boy and an alien from another world, this film shows no artifice. You believe in their connection, such is the mastery of the writing (R.I.P. Melissa Matheson), the creature effects by Italian designer Carlo Rambaldi and the flawless performances drawn from the actors—especially those of the three main children.

Spielberg expertly sucks you in from the opening frames and glues you to the screen for the duration, through anticipation, laughs, and many kinds of tears. This film is all heart and yours will sing, it will ache, and it will break. Few have managed to accomplish the range of emotions this film can elicit (and many have tried). This is lightning in a bottle good.  

Henry Thomas seemed tailor made for the role of Elliott; he is a relatable, kooky little guy who displays range not seen again until Hayley Joel Osment. Elliott is the lynchpin of this movie working, and this young actor is the reason it did. This was also Drew Barrymore’s feature debut, winning the role by telling Spielberg she was in a punk band. She would become the breakout that converted a childhood career into adult stardom. Dee Wallace also shines as the recently separated mother. Her gentleness and playfulness rounds the film out.E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

The effects for the time were first rate, with Spielberg employing many of the talents he’d acquired for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Even under the scrutiny of modern technology full immersion is almost possible (there are some shots, such as the stop motion kids on bikes that can’t win 21st century screen over.). Rambaldi’s creature work on E.T. and the old Hollywood techniques to bring him alive are stellar and worthy of his Oscar win.

After all these years, this is still one of Spielberg’s most personal films. It defined a type of movie that only he can do. Many have attempted it, but cannot reach the heights of this powerful example of the emotion and skill. E.T The Extra Terrestrial is a beautiful masterpiece and one for the ages.

5/5 stars

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- September 12, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin
Audio:
English: DTS:X; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Portuguese: DTS 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Japanese: DTS 5.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free

VIDEO:

In a word: perfection. I cannot use enough adjectives to express how flawlessly beautiful this film looks in its native 4K scan. This is not hyperbole. Universal were renowned for the heavy-handed grain reduction on many of their classic films in previous Blu-rays, but not this scan. Film grain is fine and intact, and adds detail to the picture - the likes you have never seen. Colours, especially with the HDR enhancements, are deeper and punchier than they ever were, without sacrificing the look of this near 40 year old film. The detail and depth of the picture cannot be overstated. If there is a reference disc from the Universal library to show what is capable from correctly scanning the original camera negatives, then this is it. It’s like stepping into 1982. This is the theatrical cut, too, so fear no CGI walkie-talkies.

AUDIO:

Here, we are given a tweaked DTS-X 7.1 mix. The previous Blu-ray’s lossless mix was no slouch either. But this adds some more layers to the overhead channels and kicks it up just that fraction extra. Universal also give the film purest the original 2.0 stereo track, should you want to remain faithful.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There are none on the 4K disc itself, but it is packaged with the 2012 Blu-ray release that held plenty of features from that time. Greedy, I may be, but some contemporary supplemental would have been desired, especially in relation to how they made this disc so well. You also get a digital download code.

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Steven Spielberg & E.T.
  • The E.T. Journals
  • A Look Back
  • The Evolution and Creation of E.T.
  • The E.T. Reunion
  • The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams
  • 20th Anniversary Premiere
  • Designs, Photographs and Marketing
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Special Olympics TV Spot

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4.5/5 stars

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

MPAA Rating: PG for language and mild thematic elements.
Runtime:
115 mins
Director
: Steven Spielberg
Writer:
Melissa Mathison
Cast:
Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Genre
: Sci-fi; Fantasy
Tagline:
He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The man from the moon. But I think you've killed him already."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 11, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 12, 2017
Synopsis: A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

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