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ET: The Extra Terrestrial

November 13, 2006
In our quest to appear wise, intelligent and matured, we are unfortunately forgetting how to enjoy life. If we do something, its not because we love doing it, but because we want to be seen doing it. Maybe its time to awaken the child in us. We might not have choices in certain aspects but even when it comes to things like movies, music and books, do we have to put on an adult façade. We want to be seen liking serious and dramatic movies, else we are afraid, we might risk being called dumb. Now I don’t have anything against watching a serious movie, but is there a rule which says that just because you are an adult, you must not watch or appreciate a kid’s movie.

Some of the greatest works of literature have been for kids like Peter Pan, Panchatantra, Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland to name a few. The Wizard of Oz, ET, Snow White and Seven Dwarfs have been named as some of the greatest movies ever made. Steven Speilberg is equally comfortable with a Jurassic Park as he is with a Schindler’s List, and a Bryan Singer can pay homage to his childhood hero Superman, after doing a noir movie like The Usual Suspects. When actors, directors, critics and authors have no issues in accepting both children and adult themes, what prevents us from doing so? Why are we so obsessed with appearing intelligent and wise, that we end up killing the child in us? Cant we appreciate all genres of movies, instead of trying to look like a professor? Just some thoughts of mine.

Anyway for me, I am comfortable with all genres of movies, and I love kiddie movies as much as the adult ones. And yes I don’t care a damn about critical reviews, if I like a movie, I like it, simple and straight. And on eve of Children’s Day, this is a review on a favorite movie of mine, which I loved as a kid, and still love it. This is a movie that would make it to my top list any time, any year. The movie is Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T., one of his best movies, much better than the over hypedJurassic Park.

E.T is the story of a young boy Eliot( Henry James), living in a small town in Arizona, along with his mother, his elder brother Michael and his kid sister Gertie( Drew Barrymore). He comes into contact with an alien, who has been left behind on earth. The friendly Alien, soon becomes a part of Eliot’s life along with this brother and sister. However their mother doesn’t know about it. Eliot calls him as ET, meaning the Extra Terrestrial, and soon Eliot shares a special bond with ET. Eliot sensing ET’s loneliness, builds an improvised device which would help him talk to outer space. Unfortunately ET gets sick, and when a special task force, captures ET, to conduct operations on him, Eliot knows its time to rescue E.T and get him back to his home.
Unless you are the cold, cynical kind, who cant appreciate some of the better things in life, E.T, is a movie, that would touch your heart. Watch this movie with the heart of a kid, and you will love every minute of it. Funny, emotional, touching, thrilling, Spielberg deftly packs all the ingredients together without going out of control any where.

The first scene where Eliot’s brother and sister encounter ET, is sure to make you chuckle, as also when Eliot feigns mock sadness over ET’s death in the climax.

Also the scene where Eliot gets drunk, and makes a huge mess in the school.Again the wonderful scenes of bonding between the alien and the kids, is sure to touch your heart. As also the scene where Eliot discovers ET in a sick state.

And yes the pre climax scene, where Eliot and his friends, outwit the people in trying to save ET, as also the cycle chase, is thrilling enough, as also the scene where Eliot flies over in the cycle.

But nothing to beat the moving and touching climax, when ET finally leaves. This is one of those few movie sequences, which never fails to move me, even now, I get a lump in the throat on watching it. People often criticize Spielberg for being too sentimental kind, so what very few directors can touch you with emotions the way he does without being too mawkish or schalmtzy.

ET is also complemented by a fine set of performances.

Young Henry Thomas as Eliot, provides a totally natural performance. As a mischevious, bratty, teenager and a boy bonding with an alien, he shines in both the emotional and comic moments.

Drew Barrymore is delightful as Eliot’s kid sister. Every inch a small kiddie girl, her expressions are totally natural.

Dee Wallace Stone as Eliot’s mother and Peter Coyote as a sympathetic police detective give good support.

And of course, the movie would be nothing without John William’s outstanding musical score. Especially in the climax scene. This is one of the best movies made for children, as also for the child in all of us.
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