4K UHD Blu-ray Review: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Originally released when I was nine years old, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial became my favorite movie. I saw it several times, owned many E.T. dolls, and related merchandise. Thirty-five years, and countless movies later, E.T. is no longer my favorite film, but I still love it. E.T., with its story of friendship, family, discovery, and the importance of home resonated with me as a child, and continues to as an adult.

Mistakenly left behind on Earth, a kindly alien is discovered and befriended by ten-year-old Elliott (Henry Thomas), upset over the recent separation of his parents. Dubbing the visitor “E.T.,” Elliott sneaks his new friend into his suburban California home, where he introduces his shocked siblings, older brother Michael (Robert McNaughton), and younger sister Gertie, to E.T. The kids decide to keep E.T. a secret from their mother (Dee Wallace), but it’s not long before government agents—largely represented by a mystery man notable because of his ever-present jangling keys (Peter Coyote)—begin stalking E.T., determined to take possession of the alien. While Elliott has formed a kind of psychic bond with his new friend, it soon becomes clear that finding a way for E.T. to return home is the only way they both will survive.

When E.T. first came to theaters, I remember a lot of surprise around the fact that a film featuring a brown puppet packed such an emotional wallop. The success of E.T.  lies in the combination of Melissa Mathison’s (The BFG) excellent script, and Steven Spielberg’s superior direction. Along with being relatable, the E.T. does an amazing job of capturing what it’s like to be kid. Elliott is neither too nerdy or annoying, he’s just an ordinary young boy, and Drew Barrymore’s Gertie might be the least annoying “adorable” kid in film history. That’s a tribute to Steven Spielberg who has always had a gift for working with children.

Now available in 4K UHD, the film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Richly filmic, with superb detail throughout, the HDR used elevate black levels in select scenes isn’t a negative. The image appears sharper, and more accurate than on the included Blu-ray. Colors are deep, and appropriate, while the grain structure adds to the filmic appearance.

The DTS:X soundtrack (the original 2.0 soundtrack is included here as well) is sure to impress. Dialogue has been expertly recorded, and placed in the center channel. John Williams’ Oscar winning score is spread nicely throughout the soundstage, allowing the music to ebb and flow appropriately with the action. Atmospherics come across clearly, but never interfere with the spoken word.

English SDH, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin (Traditional) subtitles are included.

While there are no extras on the UHD disc, all the extras from the 2012 Blu-ray can be found on the Blu-ray included in the case. Along with a UV/iTunes digital copy code, those extras are as follows:

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:40)
  • Steven Spielberg & T. (HD, 12:31) The director recalls the inspiration for the film, the casting process, and his happy surprise at its reception.
  • The T. Journals (SD, 55:38) A two-part behind-the-scenes look at the production of the movie. Watch this, and it becomes obvious that Spielberg has a real rapport with kids.
  • A Look Back (SD, 37:43) On the 20th anniversary of the movie, the cast and crew share memories of the filming.
  • The Evolution and Creation of T. (50:16) Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison discuss the project’s conception, and the main cast remember their experiences of how they got cast in the movie. Spielberg also discusses the special effects which were altered for the 20th anniversary reissue of the film.
  • The T. Reunion (SD, 17:56) Producer Kathleen Kennedy, director Steven Spielberg, and actors Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Robert MacNaughton, Dee Wallace, and Peter Coyote reunite to discuss experiences on the movie and the impact it had on their lives.
  • The Music of T.: A Discussion with John Williams (SD, 10:04)
  • 20th Anniversary Premiere (17:49) A behind-the-scenes look at the reissue premiere held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
  • Designs, Photographs and Marketing (HD) Six step-through art galleries on the designs of E.T., the spaceship, production photographs, stills, posters, and other marketing ideas.
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:57)
  • Special Olympics TV Spot (SD, 1:02)

Movie title: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Director(s): Steven Spielberg

Actor(s): Dee Wallace , Henry Thomas , Peter Coyote , Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore , K.C. Martel

Genre: Adventure , Fantasy, Family, Sci-Fi, Drama

  • Movie
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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