Friday 9 December 2022

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at 40

40 years ago, director Steven Spielberg (Jaws) broke the collective hearts of millions of cinemagoers (myself included) with his story of an abandoned alien befriending a fatherless child, Elliott (Henry Thomas), in a thematic sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The movie was, of course, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial: a life-affirming tale of friendship in the darkest of times, yet hope prevails in Hollywood composer, and longtime Spielberg collaborator, John Williams' spellbinding soundtrack, which I vividly remember listening to on vinyl LP on Christmas morning.

Spielberg's most autobiographical movie until The Fabelmans resonated deeply with my ten-year-old self - still coming to terms with a life-changing trauma and struggling to make sense of where I fitted into the fabric of the cosmos - a crippled child who looked to the night sky for escape from earthly bounds. BMX bikes, a signature totemic icon of so many fan-favourite Spielberg productions, afforded me freedom and the means to play with able-bodied friends on an equal footing.

When a kind friend of my late mum, who worked at the ABC Exeter, offered to let us watch E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial a second time (for free), I was too upset... To this day, I can't watch Spielberg's magnum opus without becoming an ugly mess.

The officially licensed Atari video game tie-in never reached UK shores (I had to make do with the Parker Brothers board game). A boring buggy mess, it’s widely regarded as one of gaming’s greatest failures and is infamously linked to the video game crash of 1983. This primarily affected the US market as European gamers (myself included) had moved on to 8-bit home computers with the advent of the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

"Drew Barrymore sits down with the cast of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton and Henry Thomas) for a special 40th-anniversary reunion interview. Henry Thomas tells Drew what it was like playing Elliott in the film, and the rest of the cast remembers Steven Spielberg's ability to bring the best out of actors."

What are your memories of watching E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? Let me know in the comments below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated for spam. Stay on topic and do not embed links. Keep it family-friendly.

Thank you.