Taking the child's eye view of alien-human relationships, Steven Spielberg's classic fable became an extraordinarily popular combination of special effects and sentiment, confirming the supremacy of the kidpix blockbuster and Spielberg's ability to conjure emotions as well as thrills. With a story about a fatherless boy who finds his soul mate in a benevolent E.T., Spielberg sensitively yet humorously delved into childhood innocence and experience, revealing the threat posed by adult ignorance and misplaced authority. With his affirmation of love and the importance of home, E.T. was something of an old-fashioned antidote to the chaos of the prior two decades. The special effects, though, were anything but old-fashioned, as Carlo Rambaldi's animatronic alien displayed a range of feelings and mystical powers (as well as inebriation), and the flying bicycles reaffirmed Spielberg's mastery of staging visual wonders. Greeted by mostly ecstatic reviews, E.T. appealed to the children-of-all-ages audience, surpassing Star Wars (1977) as the biggest moneymaker of all time at that point; E.T. dolls flew off the shelves. Nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, E.T. won for its sound and visual effects, as well as for John Williams's score.
by Lucia Bozzola review