Steven Spielberg's' E.T.:The Extra-Terrestrial 30th Anniversary Blu-ray arrived on shelves on October 9, just in time to get the Halloween season off to a glorious start. This is the second Spielberg classic to get the Blu-ray special treatment, with JAWS recently being released as well. The movie stars Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton and K.C. Martel. Watching this again, I was reminded of how special this film is. E.T. looks the best I have seen it in a long time on Blu-ray with it's beautifully restored filmic 1080p video transfer. The sound is equally impressive, with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 This is enough of a reason to buy this film, but the added special features make this purchase a no-brainer.
Melissa Mathison wrote this wonderful screenplay that not only introduces audiences to a different side of Aliens, but also takes us inside of a broken family. As a kid, I was mainly interested in seeing E.T. in the film, and could relate with Elliot since I was about the same age. Watching the film now, I realize that there are so many wonderful layers to the characters and the story. The film follows E.T., who is stranded on Earth and befriends a young boy and his sister. While attempting to contact E.T.'s home planet, the children have to escape the government agents and scientists who want to experiment on the extra-terrestrial. E.T. has everything you could ask for in a film, and takes fans through a range of emotions and experiences.
The entire film is entertaining, the characters are engaging, and there are so many cool moments throughout. One of my personal favorites is near the end, where the NASA scientists dressed in their space outfits slowly and with heavy breathing enter the house to get E.T. This scene is wonderfully shot, and has wonderful elements of tension thanks to the score. There are also some very touching and heart-wrenching moments.
I love the special features for this disc, but my favorite is the "E.T. Reunion", which gives us insight into the main characters then and now. There are so many cool stories from the production that can be gained from watching this feature. Unfortunately, there isn't a commentary track, but there is a featurette I enjoyed called "Spielberg and E.T." that is close enough.
- Steven Spielberg and E.T.: Spielberg gives us as close to a commentary track as we are going to get. Hearing him talk never gets old, so this is required viewing for fans wanting to take a close look at everything that went into the movie from start to finish.
- The E.T. Journals: This feature is a bunch of on-the-set videos that show the young cast and all sorts of cool stuff.
- Deleted Scenes: I can not imagine these scenes making it into the film, so I am glad that Spielberg cut them.
- A Look Back: This feature was part of the 2002 20th Anniversary Edition DVD release, and it unfortunately is not shown in HD.
- The Evolution and Creation of E.T.: Another feature from the 20th Anniversary Edition DVD, and features a bit of redundancy. For super fans, there really is never redundancy though.
- The E.T. Reunion: As I mentioned above, the reunion is one of my favorite bits. It features Spielberg, Thomas, MacNaughton, Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote and producer Kathleen Kennedy sharing various memories from their experience.
- The 20th Anniversary Premiere: If John Williams' score is not cool enough, you can see him performing it for a live audience at the films 20th Anniversary premiere at the Shrine Auditorium. I would have loved to have seen the whole performance, but this is only 18 minutes long.
- The Music of E.T.: John Williams talks about music, nuff said.
- Designs, Photographs and Marketing: This includes six image galleries that are all pretty cool.
- Special Olympics TV Spot
- Theatrical Trailer
Follow Jim on Twitter