E.T. The Extra-Terrifying

I mean, terrestrial.



E.T. tells the story of boyhood friendship, of brotherhood, and of standing united against those who would take it all away. It is one of the most altruistic and genuine onscreen relationships, and entirely inspiring to see a young actor enveloped in a character. I mentioned in my Spielberg paragraph that his movies feel like magic, and E.T. is no exception. Between the young (incredible) talent, the special effects, and the story, Spielberg has made a masterpiece that is still beloved decades later.

Watching this movie as a kid, though, and younger than Drew Barrymore’s character Gertie, was a different experience for me.  E.T. felt TOO real.  His voice, his movements, his soul-spearing eyes, his extendable and wriggling neck… it was all too much for me. And the glowing. This was not a cute Christmas Rudolph glow, this was a terrifying movie alien glow that I didn’t understand. I remember having a reindeer-shaped wicker basket at the end of my bed, and I woke up in the middle of the night and saw it through bleary eyes and low light.  The antlers looked like E.T.’s creepy fingers reaching over my bed and I couldn’t get back to sleep. This was a few years after the original horror when I thought I could handle watching the movie again.  Apparently, it didn’t go well.

Note: This is the painting E.T.s appearance is based off.



For all the fear I experienced as a child watching this movie, I appreciate the feelings it gave me.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as terrified watching any horror movie, but there aren’t many movies that have warmed by heart this much, either.  E.T. was always a tense watch for me, but the ending was a wonderful resolution, even though the friends had to be separated.  Part of me was devastated for Elliot, and part of me was happy E.T. was offscreen.

I jest (a little).

Though the images of E.T. all ghostly in the bathtub, the reindeer antler-fingers, and E.T.’s whacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-neck still sort of haunt me, I will always love this movie.  As an adult, I can finally watch it without squirming, and I can take in all the wonderful feelings you’re supposed to feel watching it.

E.T. is a beautiful adventure for kids (…maybe over 5) and adults alike. The characters are loveable, the story is important, and it is a staple in the movie industry.  Everyone should watch this movie at some point in their lives because it is a REAL treasure that still holds up today.




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