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E.T. The Extra Terrestial: the 20th Anniversary

IT'S strange to think that E.T. changed our view of alien life.

Images from the film ET_140

IT'S strange to think that E.T. changed our view of alien life. But in a way it did.

Back in the 1950s, any creature from outer space was supposed to be prepared to kill everyone on earth and generally looked pretty nasty.

Among the creatures we had were massive spiders, a crab-like thing, a lobster with killer claws and something of a Blob.

But when E.T. (the Extra Terrestrial) arrived, he was rather sweet, much helped by his big monkey-like eyes.

And naturally it was a a small boy Elliot (Henry Thomas) who first discovered him and took him his under his wing.

The clever part of the screenplay by Melissa Mathison was to set E.T.'s kiddie protectors against the grown-up scientists who just wanted to capture an alien.

It was then a case of us - the youthful audience - and them, the grown-ups.

Naturally Spielberg found himself with an enormous hit on his hands. Back on the big screen where it belongs, the film still looks pretty good.

Some of the images are now icons like the kids on their bicycles cycling across an enormous moon.

In fact, much of this seems magical in a Walt Disney fashion, the night sky filled with stars, the day-time sky always blue and the kids also big-eyed and loveable.

Among them is Drew Barrymore as Elliot's little sister Gertie, one of the few child stars from the original to have made a career in Hollywood.

This new 20th anniversary version has been remastered apparently and there are some new scenes not seen in the original.

These include ET getting a bath.

Fun as they might be, they are only incidental to the main tale which has a forceful narrative line of its own.

It may be 20 years since the original, but a new younger audience has grown up since then and if they have only seen the film on video (it has yet to be released on DVD) they will love it.

A classic? Not quite. This is basically a film to fill a couple of hours, it never lets up and it's good fun.

But if you have never seen it before, don't worry about missing it again.

You really can live your life without it.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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