E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Review

Director: Steven Spielberg

Genre(s): Drama, Kids & Family, Science-Fiction

Runtime: 115 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

If one wants to understand the influences of the popular television show Stranger Things, there’s no better place to start with than 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Set in American suburbia, a troubled child named Elliott (Henry Thomas) befriends an alien that was accidentally left behind on Earth. This is an excellent movie, but what else would you expect from director Steven Spielberg?

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is full of that classic, Spielbergian sense of wonder, particularly at things that are unknown, fantastical, or misunderstood. Watching this film makes the viewer feel just about every emotion imaginable, from fear to elation, from sorrow to excitement, from awe to joy, with some laughs along the way. It manages to be warm, nostalgic, and even suspenseful (perhaps too much so for some of the very youngest audience members).

Of course, the technical aspects of this picture cannot be criticized. The glue holding the flick together is John Williams’ magical musical score. The tune that plays during the bicycle sequences is mesmerizing. The special effects also deserve a special mention. They’re not as intrusive as the effects in some other science-fiction blockbusters, but they’re still top-notch when they do show up.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was the first known film to receive the “A+” grade from audiences as calculated by CinemaScore, and, after it was screened at the United Nations, Spielberg was given a UN Peace Medal. This is a slick, sentimental favorite that has stood the test of time. All one has to do is look at the works that have aped its success, like the aforementioned Stranger Things or the movie Super 8 (2011), to see its enduring appeal.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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