E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

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Movie: :5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

There are some movies that just were born to elicit emotion from someone. A movie that can instantly whisk you back to when you were 8 years old, staring at that little 13 inch television with unabashed amazement, and that sheer devotion to the story unfolding in front of you. After so many years of seeing movie after movie after movie, I sometimes lose sight of that little kid inside myself, and can start viewing each movie watching experience as a slightly mechanical process. However, there’s something about classic Steven Spielberg films that just draws that little kid out, even though it’s been over 30 years since I was that little 8 year old in front of the beaten up TV in the living room. Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and good old E.T. have this reviewer completely mesmerized no matter how many times they are viewed. There’s a sense of magic and discovery in his films that defy reason, and E.T. happens to be one of his most powerful and emotion filled adventures to date. It’s a movie that literally ANYONE in your family can enjoy, from little Suzy, all the way up to you, your spouse, and Grandma and Grandpa.

It’s been 35 years since E.T. left theaters, but it still manages to be a relevant film over 3 decades later. Universal has released the film quite a few times over the lifespan of home video, including the old DVD that Spielberg garnered MUCH ire over after he decided to edit the guns out of the policeman's hands during the end escape scene, and replace them with flashlights. 5 years ago, on the 30th anniversary, Universal gave us an excellent Blu-ray set to enjoy, and 5 years later it’s given a spiffier upgraded to full 4K UHD. There’s 2 different sets to choose from, the first one being the basic 2 disc combo set that includes the 2012 Blu-ray and the new 4K UHD, and the second being the collector’s edition that I’m reviewing today. The discs will remain the same, but it also includes the remastered soundtrack on CD, as well as a little booklet of still photos and behinds the scenes extras. All housed in a nice chipboard box with a holographic cover.

The story of E.T.: The Extra-Terresrtrial has been known for many a year. A young alien is accidentally abandoned by his family when their spaceship visits Earth, and the little guy finds his way to a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Elliott is a bit of a picked on child, living in a single parent household, as mother Mary (Dee Wallace) tries to put her recent divorce behind her. Deciding to keep the little alien, Elliott lets his older brother Michael (Robert Macnaughton) and little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore in her second feature film ever as a 7 year old kiddie wink) in on the secret, and the three of them try their best to keep their little friend under wraps.
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Naturally, an alien on earth can’t be kept secret for long. If a little boy can’t keep a hidden dog or cat from his parents, you can be sure that an alien is going to get discovered. The government has seemingly been aware of the being’s presence on Earth, but up until now they have just been grasping at straws and finding scraps of evidence along the way. Once it’s been discovered that Elliott has the being they descend upon the family like a plague of locusts, ready to take E.T. into a lab and dissect him. Elliott, Gertie and Michael can’t let this happen, and do the only thing they can think of. Stage a daring rescue attempt and get their little buddy back to his own kind.

E.T. is what I would consider a perfect film. It’s got it all. Cute kids, an alien puppet (which was fantastic by 1982 standards), an emotion filled tale of love that makes me look around for whoever is cutting onions in the room, and action, all in the same film. Spielberg is a great director, and I still love many of his newer works, but these old 80s and 90s efforts of his are by far the pinnacle of his achievements. He had delved into the topic of extra-terrestrial contact 5 years earlier in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but that was a film earmarked for older adults. E.T. is aimed squarely at children, but so masterfully weaves in enough adult likability that people of all ages can gain something from the film. Personally I think Close Encounters is ever so slightly more of a cinemaphile’s piece of work, E.T. manages to capture that childlike innocence and sense of adventure so well that it is the more accessible film. Both are masterpieces in their own right, but I end up popping E.T. in more often that I do the former film.

Is E.T. perfect? No, not at all. The special effects don’t hold up as well as they did 35 years ago, and the simplistic kiddy nature of certain elements is exactly what Spielberg aimed for, children. However, I have never seen a film that is able to pull out that little child in every adult that has ever seen the film (at least in my experience), making it a perfect film for many fans. It is an undeniable classic that has stood the test of time, and still manages to entertain children and adults like 35 years from its initial inception.




Rating:

Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements




Video: :4.5stars:
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Considering this is a catalog title released on 4K, we're all asking the same question. How big of an upgrade does the film offer over the 5 year ago released Blu-ray? Well, the answer to that question is, quite a bit. The 4K UHD disc overs a very solid upgrade over the 1080p disc, showing much more fine detail from the film elements, considering the excellent restoration work that went into the Blu-ray a few years ago. This same master seems to have been used for the 4K disc, as there are many similarities to the little tweaks and timing that Universal employed in the previous disc. The Blu-ray included is the same 30th anniversary edition from 5 years ago, and comparing the two side by side shows a very healthy uptick in visual clarity, as well as some very textured looking details in the background images. The leathery images of E.T. himself are more detailed, with little lines and creases much more apparent, and the slightly washed out black levels of the Blu-ray are deeper and inkier. Overall clarity is lovely, with the warm, tan colors that the film employs, and the little glow of E.T.'s finger shows up with a deeply saturated hue. Other shots, like the night time bike ride, show deep inky blacks, with no signs of banding, filtering or any other compression issues that Universal is unfortunately known for in many of their catalog titles. In short, it's a worthy upgrade to the Blu-ray.






Audio: :4.5stars:
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The upgrade from 7.1 DTS-HD MA to DTS:X is not THAT big of an upgrade (especially compared to the video uptick), but it is nice addition for those with the equipment. The two tracks are more similar than not, mainly due to the fact that
E.T. was a 2.0 movie that was beefed up to 7.1 and then mixed once more to include the use of overheads. As such there’s not a whole lot that CAN be done to make this sound like Transfomers or Star Wars. However, that is not exactly a bad thing, as the track still sounds magnificent. The surrounds are filled with John Williams’ legendary score, and the pinpoint precision of action effects (such as during the bicycle escape scene) show some great directionality. The subs get a solid amount of activity throughout the film, but don’t expect thundering bass from the old track, instead it’s much more organic and acts as a light support end for the low end of the spectrum. Vocals are crisp and cleanly located up front, while there’s a few swoops and swooshes that make use of the overheads (again, during the action bits).





Extras: :4stars:
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• The E.T. Journals - Retrace the day-to-day experience of creating E.T from never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage shot by Academy Award®-winning cinematographer John Toll.
• Steven Spielberg & E.T. - Watch an interview with Steven Spielberg, as he reflects back on the film and discusses his experience working with the actors, as well as his overall and current perspective on E.T.
• The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams - Interviews and footage focused on the long-standing relationship between John Williams and Steven Spielberg.
• Designs, Photographs and Marketing of E.T
- E.T. Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
- E.T. Designs by Carlo Rambaldi
- Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie
- Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
- Production Photographs
•Marketing E.T. A Look Back - A special insider's look into the making of E.T. featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast, and others intimately involved with the film.
• The E.T. Reunion - The cast and filmmaker reunite to discuss their thoughts on the impact of the film.
• The 20th Anniversary Premiere - Composer John Williams played the score of E.T. live at the Shrine Auditorium for the re-release premiere of E.T. This featurette gives us a behind the scenes look at this presentation.
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer








Final Score: :4.5stars:


E.T. is a fabulous family friendly film that has stood the test of time as one of Steve Spielberg’s most prolific movies. I can watch it over and over again and still get that same childlike sense of glee and wonder as Elliott and his friends make that exciting bike ride to freedom that I did when I was an 8 year old boy watching it off of a taped VHS tape that my mother made for me. The real question we have when a film is released and re-released so many times is what’s pertinent here though. Is the film worth upgrading in 4K once more? My answer is simple, yes. Yes it is worth the upgrade whether you get the 35th anniversary edition with the CD and booklet, or if you buy the normal 4K edition. They both have the same special features ported over from the 2012 Blu-ray, and the 4K video is a treat to behold. The audio sports another upgrade (even if only slight), but the video is enough to have me give this a solid two thumbs up to buy. Definitely a must own.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Melissa Mathison
Aspect Ratio: 1.85.1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS:X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 Core), Portuguese, French, Spanish, Japanese DTS 5.1, English, Japanese DTS 2.0
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 12th, 2017

56293





Recommendation: Great Buy

 
Last edited:

Sonnie

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I am absolutely positively 100% no doubt about it sure that Todd will rush out and buy a few copies of this today!!!

Got to have it!
 

Michael Scott

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Lol. I won't bet against on that. I'll bet his fingers are hitting the Amazon button asap
 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. This is the first movie I ever saw in the theater.. Never went to the theater prior to this. Will get this one. :)
 

JBrax

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If memory serves me correct Mr. Todd nominated ET as a movie that hadn't aged well? :gah:
 

Michael Scott

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If memory serves me correct Mr. Todd nominated ET as a movie that hadn't aged well? :gah:

say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! I say we lynch him!
 

JBrax

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I don't think he'd open the door when he seen the torches and pitchforks. :rofl:
 

Michael Scott

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Sonnie

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He ain't right at all ... just because he isn't aging well doesn't mean he has to pick on a GREAT movie you know. :sarcastic:

I think I will have to have it in the 4K version for sure... ready to watch it again. However... 50 bucks is on the high side I'd say.
 

Michael Scott

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Sonnie

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I called myself looking for it... that's the one I'm getting there. Thanks :T
 

Michael Scott

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notice how Todd has stayed out of the thread all day? he's feeling the heat :greengrin:
 

Todd Anderson

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I am absolutely positively 100% no doubt about it sure that Todd will rush out and buy a few copies of this today!!!

Got to have it!

LOL... this is the founding member of the Time Crushed club. And they brought it to 4K???

SHAME.

:redgrin:
 

Todd Anderson

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(sorry for the late reply... I was buried eyeball deep in the CEDIA show report today.... but now I'm UNLEASHED!)
 

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I know you've ordered several copies already... you may as well admit it.
 

Todd Anderson

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I'm starting to really second guess my Time Crushed HOF nomination of this one... but I know if I watch it again, It will only fuel the fire ;-)

I did enjoy it as a kid... had some ET T-shirts.

Does that count?
 

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Intel NUC w/ Roon ROCK
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RTJ 410
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JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
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JTR Neosis 110HT-SL
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JTR Captivators - 4000ULF-TL x2 + 2400 x6
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AVA Cinema
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Kaleidescape | Lenova X1 - Intel NUC for Roon
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Dish Joey 4K
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Zero Surge 8R15W-1 | Salamander Synergy Equipment Stand
I told you... yep... now the truth starts to creep out from deep within his soul. :whistling:
 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
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Balt/Wash Metro
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StormAudio ISP.24 MK2
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THX ONYX
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LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F, ZeroSurge 8R15W x 2, ZeroSurge 2R15W x 2
I might have to buy this just to slap a "Time Crushed" sticker on the front cover :devil:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Asere

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Apr 14, 2017
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Texas
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Denon AVR X4200W
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Proficient
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Proficient
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Dual Kreisel DXD 12012, PSA S3000i
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Samsung PNF8500
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60"
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Harmony Ultra
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You know I didn't watch E.T at the theater. I saw it at home in my late teens and while I really liked it I didn't love it. I think it has to do for sure that I missed seeing it as a kid. Seeing it at 9 is not the same as seeing it at 17 you know.
 

Travis Ballstadt

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NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
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NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
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NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
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NextLevel Acoustics Angled Satellite
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NextLevel Acoustics Angled Satellite
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SVS SB2000 x2
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SeymourAV Proscenium 124” diagonal 2.40:1
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Unfolded Circle Remote 2, powered by HomeAssistant
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They still have those?
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Rega Planar 6, Rega Exact2 cart, Rega Aria Mk3 Phono Stage, Jolida JD202BRC, Rega RS-5 Speakers (2-channel system)
I'll still buy this, but I give the kerning of "35th" on the box 10 thumbs down.
 

Michael Scott

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Cheap Thrills Mains
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Cheap Thrills Center
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2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
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Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
it's actually just a slip card that peels off of it... so that "35th anniversary" logo goes bye bye with one pull
 

phillihp23

AV Addict
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,660
Location
Washington, The West
You know I didn't watch E.T at the theater. I saw it at home in my late teens and while I really liked it I didn't love it. I think it has to do for sure that I missed seeing it as a kid. Seeing it at 9 is not the same as seeing it at 17 you know.
It was an incredible movie as a 7 yr old. Neat love able character, scary g-men chasing him to experiment on him.
 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
9,379
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
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Preamp, Processor or Receiver
StormAudio ISP.24 MK2
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Emotiva XPA-5
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Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
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Denon X8500H
Computer Audio
AudioEngine A2+
DAC
THX ONYX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Kaleidescape TERRA, OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
Front Speakers
GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R
Center Channel Speaker
GoldenEar Technology SuperCenter Reference
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC NX7
Screen
Seymour Screen Excellence, Enlightor NEO AT Screen
Streaming Equipment
iFi Audio Zen Blue
Streaming Subscriptions
Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, ROON
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F, ZeroSurge 8R15W x 2, ZeroSurge 2R15W x 2
Well, I broke down and bought my copy yesterday...

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