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E.T. The 20th Anniversary Edition Review

By Shawn McKenzie 03/23/2002

Oh the memories...

Twenty years ago, my parents took me to see a new family film about a boy who befriends a wrinkly-looking alien.  I was seven-years-old.

I went through a rollercoaster of emotions watching that film.  At first, I was scared, because it was dark and the creature hadn't been seen yet in the movie.  Then after the alien had been discovered and the kids in the movie were playing with it and hiding it from their mom, I thought it was hilarious.  Finally, after the alien went home and he was leaving the boy who loved him, I was bawling.  According to my mom, I cried all the way home and for hours after that.

Did I do it again this time?  Well, no, but I think it might be because I have seen the movie several times over the last twenty years.  This time around I was concentrating on the little "updates and improvements" that were made to this timeless classic.

I was ready to shout "blasphemy" to all the changes to a film I grew up with.  I didn't need to, because the enhancements made to the film did just that...enhanced the film.  Steven Spielberg made E.T. slightly more mobile and made his lips match his words more closely.  The added scenes didn't really further the plotline (like the added scenes in the special edition of Star Wars in my opinion), but they didn't detract from the plotline either.  They were kind of like getting a bonus track on a re-issued CD.  I've never been one to turn down a bonus.

There was one thing about the changes that did bother me.  By now I'm sure everyone has heard about the most controversial change:  all the guns in the movie were changed into walkie-talkies.  Overall this change didn't bother me except in one little scene.  It is the scene where Elliot (the main human character), his brother, and their friends are running away with E.T. from the authorities on their bikes.  As they are reaching a police blockade, E.T. makes their bikes fly over the blockade.  There is a huge gap in the blockade.  If the kids were in true danger (from, say, police pointing guns at them) then of course they should fly over them, but, they were not in danger from those nasty walkie-talkies.  Why didn't they just go through the gap in the blockade?  It made no sense watching it.  I really don't think leaving the guns in would have warped any minds or turned any kid violent.  Plus that one scene would have made much more sense.

After twenty years the film does still have an effect.  As I was leaving the theater with my girlfriend, a little girl was bawling away.  My girlfriend saw that little girl later in the restroom asking her mom, "Is E.T. ever coming back?"  She was still crying and probably was for hours after that.  It doesn't matter what "improvements" are made, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a timeless classic.

For the movie:

For the enhancements:


Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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