Monday, June 4, 2012

A Reel 30

“Mom, remember the goblin?”

1982 was a banner year for movies, with many significant films in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. This month marks the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL.
The inspiration for E.T. came from an imaginary friend Spielberg had created after his parents’ divorce in 1960. In the mid 1980’s, not long after wrapping RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Spielberg began playing around with the idea of a followup to his earlier alien-visitation film, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. The film was titled NIGHT SKIES, and was to tell the story of a malevolent race of aliens who terrorize a family.

As NIGHT SKIES went through early development, Spielberg found himself reaching back to his childhood more and more, and eventually latched onto the concept the imaginary friend; a friend which no one else could see and acted as a best friend and brother. Those themes of a broken family and childhood friendships are what eventually what made E.T. the worldwide, phenomenal success it was.

The film is a kid’s movie with themes that adults could relate to. Keeping the kids in mind at all times, Spielberg shot the film in chronological order to draw emotional responses from the young cast. He also shot the film at a child’s vantage point. Every, if not most of the camera angles are at waist-level; a fact that many viewers did not realize until many years later.

The film was a box office blockbuster and a darling among critics. It was nominated for nine Oscars, winning four. The American Film Institute holds it as the 24th greatest film of all time, and the sixth most-inspiring. The image of Elliot and E.T. flying past the moon is regarded as one of the most iconic images in film history.


In 1982, this Blogger had a younger brother (and an eventual sister), which made watching E.T. easy to relate to. The film was packed with older-brother/younger brother moments; many of which had been experienced in this Blogger’s own house. E.T. fever struck the household well; from trading cards to videocassettes (Betamax!) to the stupidass (although it seemed great at the time) Atari 2600 video game. Today, this Blogger holds E.T. in high regard, and one of those films that you only settle into and rediscover once in a while, for good things do indeed come in small doses.

“Be good.”

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