This Review Was Written for the 20th Anniversary DVD Version of the Film:
Let me explain something that I feel a lot of people are forgetting. This set doesn't only include the new version, but the old as well. That's a great deal, since you can choose which one you would like to see. If you hate the new effects and CGI, don't watch it. It's that simple.
Now don't get me wrong. I think the newer version is very silly, and I wonder if Spielberg really thought it looked good when he did it. Maybe if he were to do it in around 10 years, it wouldn't look so animated.
I did like the deleted bathroom scene though, even though it was done with CGI. It would have been nice to have seen that in the original, but I guess that would be having my cake and eating it too.
There is nothing flawed about this set, it simply just gives some options that not everyone will want to choose. If you enjoy the movie, you will enjoy this set. It's a classic that hasn't lost it's flavor after all these years.
Since writing this review 9 years ago, some things have changed (believe it or not). With the release of Blu-ray and Amazon Instant Video, this has caused some confusion over which version(s) are featured on each format. I currently own the Blu-ray edition that Amazon lists as "Multi-format" and has a blue cover that says "Anniversary Edition" at the top and it contains only the ORIGINAL 1982 version of the film (which is undoubtedly the superior version of the two, since it omits the "not ready for prime time" CGI effects that many believe ruined this classic movie.
As noted above, I did enjoy the scene with ET in the bathroom that was added to the 20th anniversary edition and it IS included on this 30th anniversary blu-ray edition as a deleted scene (along with one other scene where Elliot's mom is asked where Elliot is on Halloween).
The blu-ray transfer is fantastic and it was wonderful to see they decided to use the original 1982 version as opposed to the 2002 version with the added effects. Of course it would have been nice to include both, if for nothing else, to serve as a comparison. But if I had to choose, I am happy to see they dropped the 2002 edition.
I hope this clears up any confusion my original review may have caused. Amazon does not separate their reviews based on different versions and my original review is pretty outdated here in 2014. 32 years later, this film is still just as touching and magical as ever and this blu-ray edition really brings it to life for a new generation.
on October 14, 2012
This is the first thing I want to say about the 2012 Blu-ray Release of "E.T., the Extraterrestrial:" it's back, in its original form. Yes, every frame, the terrorist gag, guns back where they need to be, the musical score in the farewell scene restored to its original grandeur, and no digital shilly-shallying. What a delight! Big thanks to Mr. Spielberg for finally recognizing the deliciously imperfect perfection of his original creation.
I've seen this film approaching 70 times, and I know where the beats are, top to bottom. I was looking for changes, and could detect not a one. Even the slight jump-cut as ET indicates the closet as "home" is restored. The original ILM animation of the bikes in flight is back. The string passage during the final embrace is right where it should always have been. All the terrible tampers have been removed.
The transfer, from original 35mm elements, is as flawless as can be. The look and feel of the theatre experience fills the eye and the ear and, as always, the heart. Welcome "home," E.T., and thanks, Universal, for a job well undone.
on October 8, 2012
The Jaws Blu-ray was pretty good, but E.T. is just about as well done as you could hope for! It actually looks like film for a change with beautiful, natural looking grain and no apparent DNR scrubbing or overt contrast pumping. The detail and color are outstanding, considering the 80's film stock that was used.
And YES it is *only* the 1982 theatrical version... including the bad government agents wielding guns around innocent kids, the terrorist line left intact, and most importantly... NO CGI'd E.T. at all. Your childhood memories remain safely intact.
Hurray! Now if only Lucas could see the light.
The 7.1 re-mix, encoded in 24 bit DTS-MA lossless audio, isn't too shabby either. It pays homage to the original sound design while spreading the sound effects and John Williams' epic score around the room better.
Unfortunately, Universal continues to skimp on the deluxe treatment. If they had placed the video extras on a separate Blu-ray (which they should have done on Jaws as well), they could have included the complete making-of documentaries, rather than edited versions. There is also a wealth of extras from previous video versions, like the special edition laserdisc, not included here.
I also highly recommend the 5.1 channel Super Audio-CD of the superb E.T. score by John Williams released for its 2002 anniversary.
First, I want to make it clear that I'm reviewing the DVD here, not the original film. I liked the original; it's a good movie. Not as fantastic as it is hyped to be, but good enough to have on DVD for an occasional viewing. I give the film 4 stars.
I have BIG problems with what's behind this DVD, and the "special edition" of ET that's on it.
The 2002 edition of ET is just absurd. As others pointed out, CGI ET looks silly, and isn't consistent with the "old" scenes that include ET. His stiffness was part of his physical character. Making him more "jar-jar" just doesn't make sense. It's an example of "lets do it because we can". There are lots of thing we "can" do that we "should not" do, and this is one of them.
But much worse than this is the digital removal of the guns. Not only was this poorly done (from a technical point of view), but it's an example of Political Correctness(tm) gone mad. Guess what: government agents and cops carry guns, and they point them at people/things that they are trying to stop/apprehend. Get over it.
I hate to see a work of art like ET defaced just to appease a loud, misguided minority of people who believe in political correctness. Bowing to this minority was a cowardly act.
Finally, the packaging Universal has chosen is obnoxious. The only way to get the original film is to buy a very expensive "gift boxed set", filled with things I do NOT want. I'm willing to pay for a boxed set, but only if it contains the following items: Original movie with original 5.1 sound track, commentary track(s), deleted scenes, making of and/or retrospective featurettes. That's it. This would probably fit on one disc, making a boxed set unnecessary. ...
on October 22, 2002
Both versions of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece are available on this limited edition DVD of E.T- THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL. The original 1982 and the 2002 re-mastered version are equally impressive. The minor cuts and restored footage doesn't add much. Sure, the CG E.T is impressive and there are some great moments put back in that make the film feel more complete. But the heart of the film stays the same. Differing from Spielberg's more strident films (JAWS, the INDIANA JONES films and JURASSIC PARK), E.T is the simple story of Elliot (Henry Thomas) who finds a friend from space and helps him to find his way home, hence the oft-quoted line "E.T phone home!". The iconic image of Elliot riding past the moon is one of the most memorable movie moments in cinema history, accompanied by John William's whimsical score (Another coup-de-grace par-excellence). The film itself is still emotionally involving and the peformances of the principal actors, especially Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore are fantastic. Regardless of the film's 2002 theatrical dissapointment, Spielberg's masterful storytelling holds up to this day. One of my all-time favourites, E.T will always be remembered as one of the greatest cinema experiences in film history.
The DVD extras are very impressive. Startting off with Disc One, the 2002 version has an introduction by Steven Spielberg, a live performance of John Williams conducting at the 2002 premiere and an "exciting space exploration". Disc Two has the 1982 version. the extras include a "Spotlight on Location" featurette, The Reunion: The cast and filmmakers talk sbout the film. The Evolution and Creation of ET: hundreds of production photographs, conceptual drawings and original advertising in an interactive environment. Also included are theatrical trailers and DVD-ROM features. A must have DVD.
on September 18, 2012
The old cliché that you cannot go home again happily doesn't apply to Steven Spielberg's E.T., the 1982 classic that hits Blu-Ray for the first time on October 9th. Right off the bat I can say that the film's HD transfer is beautiful, boasting clear detail, no overt use of DNR, and no color scheme "retweaking" that I could detect.
The last time I had seen the film theatrically was in 2002 for its 20th Anniversary re-release -- the ninth time I had seen the movie in theaters, but the first viewing I had on the big screen since E.T. first opened in 1982. At that point, I was not quite eight years old, and my lifelong love for the movies was about to take hold during that magical summer of genre favorites.
Watching the film again, as an adult, in 2002 was fascinating - not just because of how well the movie holds up, but in how it captivates children as well as adults, who can watch the film from a different perspective and yet be every bit as moved and spellbound by the story as kids are. I was finally able to see what critics had described in 1982, about how Speilberg's movie works for grown-ups in profound yet subtle ways. Whereas kids primarily identify with Elliott's plight to help E.T. get home, on this viewing I carefully studied the reaction of the other characters in the film, and was in awe of how Spielberg carefully painted every character's nuance in seemingly small background detail so effectively. Specifically, I was moved by how Elliott's older brother (an underrated performance by Robert McNaughton) aids his younger brother and gains his uncompromising trust, and how Peter Coyote's initially-villainous, ultimately sympathetic "Man With The Keys" is essentially Elliott as a grown-up, understanding his emotions and wanting to help the abandoned alien but not knowing how.
The movie is told with beautiful economy -- each scene creates and sustains an emotion integral to the characters, or serves to propel the story forward. The sequences with Elliott showing E.T. his room, his Star Wars figures, are so genuine, feel so real, that you forget you are watching a sci-fi fantasy that tugs on your heartstrings. It's the kind of movie that cynics love to bash because it makes them feel emotional, but E.T.'s cinematic virtues are plentiful. The movie is anything but saccharine emotion. It makes you care about Elliott and his family because Spielberg and writer Melissa Mathison make them seem like real people. There aren't any moments early in the film that don't feel like real life, and this timeless quality makes one get past the occasional '80s staple like an Atari 2600 camping out on the top of the family TV.
We all know and love the film's operatic ending, but there are scenes throughout E.T. that are subtle and yet every bit as sublime. This is illustrated perfectly in the sequence in which E.T. watches the mother (Dee Wallace) read "Peter Pan" to Gertie (Drew Barrymore), with the creature almost as interested in studying their interaction as he is in Elliott's plan to help him return to the mothership. Henry Thomas' performance is still the greatest juvenile performance I've ever seen, and the sequence in which Elliott says goodbye to E.T. -- whom he believes to be dead -- is as moving as any moment in the entire film.
Making all of it work, of course, is John Williams' music, still arguably his finest score for not only its outstanding lyricism, but its unforgettable, symbiotic relationship with the movie itself. From the quiet, poignant cues underscoring Elliott and E.T.'s scenes together - to the glorious finale that says every word in musical terms that Spielberg happily didn't feel the need to spell out with dialogue - Williams' music is E.T. It's another character in the film, punctuating every emotion in a fashion that's as restrained at times as it is powerful at others.
It's a marvelous, wonderful film and its Blu-Ray release, coming up early next month, adds to its legacy.
Universal's 1080p AVC encoded transfer of E.T. (in its 1982 original release version) is crisply detailed without any obvious noise or DNR filtering; overall, the presentation is sterling, enhancing Allen Daviau's cinematography in a transfer that does justice to the film's '82 theatrical cut. The DTS MA audio is effectively rendered as well, boasting a broad stage for Williams' masterful score.
For extra features, the disc adds one new interview with Spielberg and more of John Toll's behind the scenes footage, as well as recycles other extras from the 2002 DVD releases. This unfortunately means that, once again, Laurent Bouzereau's unedited 1990s laserdisc documentary hasn't been included (just a cut-down version is on hand), and it's a strange, notable omission since it contained the only full release of Harrison Ford's deleted appearance as Elliott's school principal - as well as the film's excised ending coda. That those particular scenes have never been screened again outside of that documentary sadly remains a mystery (just a few shots of the Ford scene are included in the "Evolution & Creation of E.T." documentary, with Spielberg talking over them).
Here's a specific breakdown of what is included:
-Steven Spielberg & E.T. (12 mins., HD): A new conversation with Spielberg on the production of the film, its genesis, the essential component of Melissa Mathison's involvement, and a nice anecdote involving his screening of the film to President Reagan at the White House.
-The E.T. Journals (53 mins., SD): This release's other noteworthy new extra is a longer assembly of behind the scenes footage from the production of the picture, much of it shot by future "Braveheart" Oscar winner John Toll. Some of this was included (in various forms) on prior releases, but there's more of it here, presented uncut and without new "talking head" commentary, thanks to Laurent Bouzereau.
-Deleted scenes (3 mins., HD): Two deleted scenes, added to the 20th Anniversary re-release, are presented here in HD. Neither is essential to the film and the CGI does seem out of place given the rest of the picture (though it's subdued and well executed), but the brief Halloween bit sets the scene nicely. None of the digitally "reworked" scenes involving the government agents' guns are included - although Spielberg said 10 years ago he wanted the guns removed, apparently he's had a change of heart and prefers to let his original version speak for itself.
-A Look Back (37 mins., SD): Retrospective doc compiled for the 2002 home video release, which is essentially a cut-down version of Laurent Bouzereau's '90s laserdisc documentary (which ran more than twice as long).
-The Evolution and Creation of E.T. (50 mins., SD): Previously available in the three-disc, more expensive 2002 DVD box-set release, this recounts the production in a lengthier manner than "A Look Back."
-The E.T. Reunion (17 mins., SD): The cast reunites with Spielberg in this 17-minute piece from the 2002 DVD package.
-The Music of E.T.: A Conversation with John Williams (10 mins., SD): Williams interview from the 2002, three-disc DVD box-set.
-The 20th Anniversary Premiere (18 mins., SD): Another previously-released featurette showing John Williams conducting the L.A. Philharmonic at the Shrine Auditorium for the movie's special 20th Anniversary screening. (Note the prior DVD had an isolated audio track of this performance that ran during the film, which is not included here).
-Designs, Photographs and Marketing: A series of previously released still galleries
-Trailer (SD): The full 2-minute theatrical trailer (offering some unused footage of E.T.'s ship landing) in non-anamorphic standard def.
-Special Olympics/McDonalds TV spot
on June 19, 2006
This product is limited and is no longer being made by Universal studios. Steven Spielberg prefers that you buy his new "enhanced" version of E.T.
I, like most reviewers here, prefer the original version of this movie. What Spielberg did in 2002 for this movie was he computer-animated E.T., enhanced a few scenery shots, added two extra scenes, and digitally removed all hand guns.
Now I don't mind him adding extra scenes, but all the other things basically changed the film. I liked E.T. the puppet. He was more real. Speilberg basically just threw away all the work that the puppeteers did (which was made up of little people, a boy with no legs, and a lady doing E.T.'s arms). Yes Spielberg, I understand that this is what you WOULD HAVE done if given the technology back 1982, but you don't have to change anything.
And digitally removing the handguns and replacing them with walkie-talkies was stupid too. Government agents will use guns to stop anyone who tries to stop them. Spielberg's philosophy behind doing this was that he regretted having the government agents using the guns to apprehend kids. But that's what agents do. How are they going to stop the kids with walkie-talkies, say, "Hey, I have a walkie-talkie and I'm not afraid to use it." Spielberg was also upset about having guns in a family film. Well, he didn't really make this a "family film" when he allowed cussing in it, such as the "b" word, the "s" word, and somebody calling someone else "pen*s breath." How come you didn't edit that Spielberg?
So if you can, try to buy this product, because this is the only way to find this film in its original version (unfortunately this product has the 2002 version but it's all worth it). Every director should have the freedom to do what they want to the films, but keep the original versions for fans please! That goes for you too George Lucas.
on July 24, 2002
As a "Star Wars" fan, I have to admit, George Lucas' 1977 grand epic movie DID NEED to be fixed, Lucas totally buffed up its Special effects, which it needed, SW Special Edition is phenominal compared to its original version, however I don't feel the same way about E.T., I mean what really needed to be fixed????, SW was Sci-Fi, so naturally it needed it, E.T. had very little effects in the way of visuals, I don't know what Speilberg is thinking, I mean, is he trying to compete with Lucas in a friendly way??, You can bet I will be watching the 1982 version, this film really is a timeless classic about an alien left behind on earth who soon befriends Elliott, a 10 year old who lives in what appears to be the valley of Los Angeles, Elliot & E.T. share a special bond, it is every lonely kid's dream, I was 11 when I first saw it, it hit home, because at the time I was new in my neighborhood, & my mom had just gone through a divorce too, I was an only child too, so you can imagine, E.T. always heightened my spirits, this film is great in that it shows what a fun character E.T. could be, the original puppet used was by all accounts well done, why they felt the need to digitally enhance E.T. is beyond me, we have never seen Jar Jar Binks as a puppet, so we don't think much about it, but E.T. you do, had digital technology been possible in 1982, then maybe it wouldn't matter, but now it does, another flaw is the removed guns from the government agents, (another mistake), why be politically correct??, I mean lets face it, agents hell bent on capturing an alien would not be so kid-friendly, in all reality they would be pursuing with guns, not walkie-talikes!..., Speilberg should have left this treasure alone, I can understand Lucas' argument on SW, but this one had little in the way of visual effects, I say stick with the original version & skip the 2002 version, the original may cost more, but it is worth it.
on October 18, 2012
It looks like the finest 35mm print of E.T. you've ever seen, with Allen Daviau's cinematography of images straight from Steven Spielberg's imagination and heart lush and crystal-clear.
John Williams' out-of-this-world music is astronomically, extraordinarily spectacular!
On the sound track, there is the occasional added sound-effect...a cricket here, a bird chirp there, the pizza guy (Get it? Huh?) driving off down the street exactly in surround left after delivery, the sound of the gas-guzzling government van's engine running when we're inside with Keys, who is listening to Elliott and Michael discuss "What WOULD make a radar?" for E.T. to phone home...subtle touches that add just a little more atmosphere to completely immerse you in the story we've grown to know and love!
Watching this classic cinematic gem brought me right back to 1982, to a time when my family (I'm the oldest of 3, formerly 4, siblings; my younger brother, sadly, died of cancer in 2007) was intact and together...when my brother and I used to ride BMX bikes, like the boys in the film...and when our sisters were little, like Gertie. Pure delight. Pure Spielberg!
Thanks a million, Steven, for going back to the 1982 version...the print that shows the government guys carrying GUNS (yes, government agents carry guns, and, pray tell, perish the thought, sometimes have to use them; they would certainly be brandishing firearms during something so monumentally earth-shattering and such a potential threat to national security as a visit from an extra-terrestrial!), that shows E.T. in all his superbly-operated anamatronic rubber puppet glory, for allowing us to hear Mom telling Michael "You are not going (for Halloween) as a TERRORIST!" comment, and Michael saying, uncensored, in his shoulder pads, at the fridge, "...nothin' but hell-shIt!"
on February 16, 2011
I bought this item because I read a review saying that it contained the original 1982 version of the film. It does not. If you are a fan of the original version, like I am, and want to see it without a cartoonified makeover, look elsewhere. I will be returning this DVD.