The Geek Life: Watches ET Again -

The Geek Life: Watches ET Again

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The Geek Life: Watches ET Again

and cries again

By Robert T. Trate     June 20, 2012

The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life watches E.T. again. 
On June 15, 2012, fans of Steven Spielberg's iconic film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial celebrated the film's 30th Anniversary and forthcoming release on Blu-ray at a free outdoor screening at FIGat7th in conjunction with the LA Film Fest presented by Film Independent. The Geek Life was an attendee. It was a perfect chilly night in the city of angels. No one seemed to mind as each of us was given a Elliot style hoodie to wear.  The film was projected on a huge blown up screen. 


With any movie like E.T. (and especially E.T.) watching it awakens memories of when you saw it as a kid. To this day I remember the second time I saw the movie and cried my eyes out. I was all of seven years old and wrestled with the embarrassment of what happened. I wasn’t scared, no one close to me died, yet there were those tears. Was I really crying for this alien that was no more than a fictitious character in a movie? I was able to control those “movie tears” for years after that but now I actually look forward to them. Hell, the last time I really remember letting loose was during The Return of the King. Where and when? That’s my secret.


E.T. is a great and strange movie. Strange as in it changes with you as you grow older. In 1982 I was an older brother. Not as old as Elliot’s but I knew how to torture my sibling to get what I wanted. No, I identified with Elliot right away. How could I not as we had the same toys and quoted the same movies (Star Wars)? As I got to be Mike’s age, I understood the responsibility of looking after a younger brother. We might not have always agreed but we were always on the same side. I’m sure if I had been any younger I would have started with Gertie. Yet as I grew older and will probably have a children of my own, I’ll identify with Mary. As time keeps turning so does E.T. and our identification with its characters.


One of the amazing things (and there are many) about E.T. is how director Steven Spielberg plays with light. It is everywhere in the film. Take notice of how and where it is pointed, directly into the camera. This works on multiple levels in building a mood and changing the characters. With the mood we find the warmth in Elliot’s world. Inside his room is a place of security and love. The world on the other side of those rainbow blinds is dark, mysterious, and dangerous. Thankfully, our hero found his way into Elliot’s haven. 

The lighting for the characters is something that not many people take notice of on a first or second glance. Watch the film again as the characters’ faces are engulfed in shadows. This isn’t Henry Thomas we’re watching. It’s a boy talking to this magical creature he found. That boy could be you or even your son. The character of “Keys” evidently has this lighting technique used in the majority of the film. His face is never seen (well almost nothing above the belt) until the end. Yet, when he is revealed, he is not some horrible monster of a man. No, he’s a wide eyed dreamer, like Elliot, who knows just how special E.T. really is. Spielberg painted a dark canvas filled with spots of warmth and hope. His reflection of our world is one that has endured. 



The event at the LA Film Fest was an incredible undertaking. Fans were encouraged to arrive on their bikes and escort E.T. to the screening (pictured above/ video below). It might look cheesy or silly but not many movies endure the way E.T. has. It’s great when fans can turn out and show their support for a film they love.



I took notice of the man in front of me at the screening. He was there with his wife and family. At the end (and you know which part), he took off his glasses and wiped the tears from his face. I quickly wiped away my own, as well. It looks as if the power of E.T. will endure, long into my old age. I just can’t wait to share it with my children. 



E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (the original 1982 cut) arrives on Blu-ray this October, 2012. Check out the full details here

Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.



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Wiseguy 6/20/2012 9:43:17 AM

I love Spielberg, one of the greatest and an argument can be made for the greates director ever, and I loved ET when I saw it as a kid. However it no longer ranks in my top echelon of films. Guess it lost that ranking years back, maybe as a result of getting older.Unlike many of Spielberg films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Close Encounters to name a few and quite a few non-Spielberg films, this just doesn't make stop in my tracks when I run across it on tv. I still love the film or better yet I'm very fond of it. I have it on dvd and yet I haven't watched in a good 5 years at least.Having said that I agree Bob that it is a great film and it will indeed endure for many to enjoy in the future like many of Disney's classics. I bring up Disney because I would put ET in that grouping because I consider it mostly a pure family/kids film now. I'm sure that in the future I'll get the urge to reminisce and I'll pop in the dvd and I'm sure that I'll enjoy it and be touched like I was way back then, just like many of Spielbergs' films seem to be able to do

Wiseguy 6/20/2012 9:58:48 AM

Bob what's up with the comments? It took me like 10 tries to post, having to break up the posts at different points and then finally copying and pasting it to 1 paragraph instead of 3 before being accepted.

No links or questionable content either. It's the same quite a few of the other maniacs have been complaining about since last week when we had that malware attacking everyone. Well the comments section appears to be still a bit shaky

ObiWannaJones 6/20/2012 2:22:59 PM

 I agree with you Wiseguy; loved it 30 years ago, but can take it or leave it now.  I stated in another post how my fondness for E.T., the Extra Testicle faded as I aged and my eyes opened to some common themes in Spielberg's films of the 80s. 

Yeah, it is a good film, but it is no Citizen Cane, Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars. 



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