Movie review, 'E.T.' (1982)

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Read Michael Wilmington's review of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The 20th Anniversary."

The following is an excerpt from the Tribune's June 11, 1982, review of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," which received four stars, by critic Gene Siskel.

The word is already out on this film, and, yes, it is as enchanting as most everyone has made it out to be. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," the story of a suburban boy protecting a lost outer space creature, is a pure delight. It is the kind of film that young people are going to want to see again immediately after they've seen it...

"E.T." essentially is director Steven Spielberg's reworking and expansion of the touching, final scene in his popular "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."...

Already some critics are calling "E.T." a children's classic on the order of "Bambi" and "The Wizard of Oz." It might very well turn out to be that. The film certainly borrows a visual style from classic Disney animated cartoons, with the evil adults being photographed from a low-angle that is the child and E.T.'s point of view. As in "Close Encounters," director Spielberg again has come up with a marvelous child actor in Henry Thomas, whose open, wide-eyed face is enormously photogenic. It's a face capable of pure emotions, and the emotion most often on view here is love -- little Elliott's love of E.T.

...Love stories seem to be in short supply these days, as they have been in the last decade of American movies... But the hunger for love on the screen is there, and director Spielberg gives it to us in "E.T.," and because the lovers are a little boy and a little creature, we accept it.

Of such simple concepts, timeless entertainments are made. And it wouldn't surprise me if "E.T." was playing somewhere in Chicago until the end of this year. It is that appealing.

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