You know it’s great. You know it’s timeless (even though it might be tough to explain to today’s kids why no one had a cell phone or a home-alarm system). What makes the 20th-anniversary DVD of Steven Spielberg’s boy-meets-alien film, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Limited Collector’s Edition, worth buying is that the movie we all remember almost disappeared.
For months, DVD buyers had been told that the only way to own the original, un-digitally adulterated version was to drop around $70 for a three-disc limited-edition gift set. The made-for-mortals two-disc set was to feature only the CGI-enhanced version that graced movie screens this past May. In his infinite wisdom — and as befits one so vocal about the preservation of film history — Spielberg reconsidered, and encouraged Universal to include the ’82 cut in the two-disc set as well.
What’s the big deal, you ask? In practical terms, it isn’t one. The movie still works amazingly well both ways; the CGI additions make what was once stiff and rubbery feel more organic, while conversely, the artificiality of the original ”E.T.” helps to sell the idea of Elliott?s unflagging belief in something that’s too good to be true.
Even though the set also includes a bunch of nifty retrospective/reunion featurettes, the best bonus is the film itself, the way we all fell in love with it.