Spielberg's classic sci-fi adventure, "E.T.", comes to a new home on DVD, and it's one plush two-disc destination!
Picture The quality of the restoration and remastering to DVD produces a film that looks every bit as good as it did for its 1982 cinema release.
Sound You're spoilt for choice here with both Dolby 5.1 EX, and DTS ES mixes on offer. Both provide sound for an extra centre rear speaker, but even if you don’t have that, you'll probably swear that you did! John Williams' score gets full orchestral throttle from the front speakers, while any effects are laden with precise bass underpinning that lends new drama to classic scenes.
DISC ONE SPECIAL FEATURES
Spielberg Introduction Spielberg condenses his thoughts on "E.T." into "It's like a good bottle of vintage Bordeaux. It just gets better with age". It's hard to disagree with what follows.
2002 World Premiere The 20th Anniversary issue of the film was premiered at the massive Shrine Auditorium, where John Williams conducted a full orchestra for the special presentation. By selecting this audio, you get that same experience of the two-hour orchestral performance, presented in 5.1, complete with the effects and dialogue track. This is a unique feature, and there are some interesting, subtle variations in the music, especially in the unusual depth of its presentation, when compared to the studio-mixed original.
DISC TWO SPECIAL FEATURES
Evolution and Creation of ET Fans of the film will be delighted by this 50-minute documentary on a film that Spielberg describes as, "A little piece of wonderment in my life". That may sound a little corny, but what this programme reveals is a project that turned the actors and crew into something of a family. That mood translated into the film itself, to the point where the reaction of the cast to ET and his plight became very real. There came a point where the acting wasn't needed.
For a movie that's 20-years old, a large amount of behind-the-scenes footage has been unearthed. There's a Henry Thomas audition, test sequences of ET, and deleted material. Carlo Rambaldi is also on hand to talk us through his designs for ET, while there's a look at the subtle improvements made by ILM to the film.
The Reunion Spielberg and the principal cast of the film are re-united for this fascinating 17-minute session where many memories are relived. The film seemed to have had a profound effect on all involved, and the anecdotes come thick and fast. Cutest of these is Drew Barrymore on how much she loved ET and how genuinely upset she was in scenes later on in the movie. Comments are interspersed with more footage, including Spielberg dressed as a bag lady and sporting a Python-esque accent during a Halloween party held on-set.
The Music of John Williams Featurettes on the music of a film, and especially commentaries from composers, can be about the most boring aspects of a DVD. It's a tough matter to discuss with any true meaning, but what makes this ten-minute featurette interesting is John Williams' understanding of how to marry music to how a movie is edited. Spielberg certainly rates his opinion highly, and knows that Williams likes his films if he doesn’t have to discuss the scoring of them in detail.
20th Anniversary Premiere The one downside to this look at the 20th Anniversary premiere is that you really wish you could have been there. It takes you behind-the-scenes on the staging of a unique event requiring a two-hour performance from an orchestra that had to exactly match the cues of each scene.
Designs, Photographs, and Marketing In this section you'll find image galleries of: ET designs by Ed Verreaux, ET designs by Carlo Rambaldi, spaceship designs by Ralph McQuarrie, production designs by Ed Verreaux, production photos, marketing ET.
Space Exploration Take a trip around the solar system with ET as your guide. Bizarre is an apt description for this feature.
Additional Extra Features Also on the DVD is a theatrical trailer, game trailer, and a trailer for the "Back to the Future" trilogy DVD release. If you have a DVD drive you can use the disc to access exclusive internet material.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 5.1 ES
Audio Tracks: English
Subtitles: English, Dutch
Menus: Animated with music
Special Features Subtitles: All the special features come with subtitles apart from the Space Exploration feature.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.