Much before the yucky bugs of MiB and the tentacled monsters of I-Day, there was the cute, obsidian, telescoping necked ET of ET. And Steven Spielberg emphasizes the point that he is the baap! This movie is cute and humane (or maybe alien-ane) even after 20 years. That's two decades or one-fifth of a century. And considering the number of advances technology has made meanwhile... hats off, Spielberg!
There have been technical improvements made to this updated version. The way the ET moves is much better than in the original. And so are some of the levitation scenes. The whole thing looks smoother and more cohesive. And though this alien doesn't have green innards that go splat, he is one cool chap. And added to this is Drew Barrymore, who had to be the cutest kid of '82.
For once the story part can actually be left out. It's become a legend of sorts and has achieved even pseudo-reality status with talk of all those secret hangars in the US. ET is ditched by mother ship because of Federal intervention during an exploring mission. Kid meets ET. Kid's bro and sis meet ET. ET, kid, bro and sis have one helluva time. ET gets homesick and eventually sick, very sick. Contraption rigged out of spell 'n' learn machine and God knows what else to "phone home". Feds almost spoil everything by crashing in but kids manage to get ET onboard mother ship, destination home!
The telepathic connection between the ET and Elliot (Henry Thomas) is very interesting. Added to this are the telekinetic levitation part and the psychic connection between the ET's health and a flowering plant. The mental connection is explored much more than any futile attempts at geographically locating the alien or proving his technical prowess. The movements may look slightly animatronic, but then who knows what aliens look like or how they move. The kids do justice to their characters, and Gertie (Drew Barrymore) as Elliot's kid sister makes an impression.
Cynics may label this as kiddie stuff, but what the heck! If you prefer a masked character spinning webs just because he swings
convincingly, you are missing out on a whole lot of other facets movies have. This alien may have serious motor coordination problems and a DeVito-like stature and figure, but at the end of it all you'll find yourself wishing there are aliens as nice as this somewhere out there. Arpan Panicker