Tuesday, 22 March 2016

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial directed by Steven Spielberg is a story about a young boy affected by his parents separation and the discovery of his new stranded extra-terrestrial friend (E.T.). The story follows the friendship of Elliot (Henry Thomas) and E.T. in their loneliness, as they help one another and later become one through telepathy and telekinesis, Which is how Elliot comes to know of E.T.'s want to 'phone home'.

Fig. 2

The absence of the father figure within the film is clear, straight from the beginning when Elliot first mentions about his father to his mother and is then scolded for it. Another giveaway for the evident gap in Elliot's life is shown is Spielberg's camera work, no male (adult) characters are shown above the waist until the final act in the film, demonstrating the male absence in Elliot's life.

"The hole left by Dad is filled by a short, dumpy, big-eyed creature from a faraway planet. Part of a team of botanists sent to earth to collect foliage samples, he is left behind when his spacecraft has to make an emergency departure. Eventually, he waddles into the backyard of a house on the edge of town, where it is his good fortune to be discovered by nine-year-old Elliott" (Lee, 2014)

Fig 3
The idea of the absent father came from a personal place of Spielberg's, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was formed from Spielberg's own parents divorce, he solely blamed it upon his father seeing him as 'more terrestrial' meanwhile placing his mother 'on a pedestal'.

E.T. began with me trying to write a story about my parents’ divorce,” the director says, admitting that he did “pin” the blame of the marital split on his father (unbeknownst to Steven for many years, it was his mother who decided to end the marriage when she fell in love with another man). “Even after I knew the truth, I blamed my dad,” Spielberg continues. “It’s still a mystery to me, but even though my mother was kind of like an older sister to me, I kind of put her up on a pedestal. And my dad was much more terrestrial, much more grounded, much more salt of the earth. And for some reason, it was easier for me to blame him than it was to someone who I … already exalted.” (Arbeiter on Spielberg)

Spielberg with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) changed peoples views of sci-fi and made them look towards it with awe, rather then fear, therefore Spielberg reformed the sci-fi genre for many making ways for films such as Paul (2011) and Earth to Echo (2014) which explore and demonstrate that the extra-terrestrial should be a thing of awe.

"With E.T. – and his Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Spielberg redefined popular sci-fi. Extra-terrestrials no longer had to be a laser-blazing threat to humanity: the universe, he was saying, is also full of awe and wonder. E.T. is an endless and infinite delight."


  • Marc, Lee "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, review: 'redefined popular sci-fi'" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/11310774/Must-have-movie-ET-The-Extra-Terrestrial-1982.html [22/03/16]
  • Arbeiter, Michael How Steven Spielberg’s Daddy Issues Influenced Every Film from ‘E.T.’ to ‘Lincoln' http://tromacorp.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/review [22/03/16]

Figure 1 - http://www.moviepostershop.com/et--the-extra-terrestrial-movie-poster-1982

Figure 2 - http://www.liveforfilms.com/2015/03/02/underground-artist-michelle-latimer-talks-about-the-underground/

Figure 3 - http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk/film/e-t-extra-terrestrial


  1. Hi Danni,

    You have some text formatting issues going on here - different colours and fonts, and the return of the dreaded white highlighter...

  2. Sorry Jackie but I've tried to sort it multiple times and with other reviews but Im not quite sure whats going on with the whole thing ):