E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 40th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 264, November/December 2022

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Steven Spielberg
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DTS:X, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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This is the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition of the original classic and the third version to appear on Blu-ray Disc. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" remains today an extraordinary film, one that will warm your heart with its wondrous entertainment and magic. Its a story about human values, understanding, compassion, and love is timeless as told through the perspective of a young boy's (Thomas) friendship with a visitor from another planet. Along with the superb performance of Thomas, the rest of the cast is just as natural and believable as the film's feeling of reality. Director Steven Spielberg digitally enhanced his Oscar-winning 1982 classic for the Blu-ray Disc released on October 9, 2012 with current technology that was not available to him at the time, then 40 years ago. This latest version has been re-mastered in 4K Ultra HD with HDR and a DTS:X Immersive Sound soundtrack. (Gary Reber)

Special features include 10 featurettes:"40 Years Of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (HD 20:14), "TCM Classic Film Festival: An Evening With Steven Spielberg", (HD 27:97 "The E.T. Journals" (HD 53:38), "Steven Spielberg & E.T." (HD 12:31), "A Look Back" (HD 37:43), "The Evolution Of And Creation Of E.T." (HD 50:16), "The E.T. Reunion" (HD 17:56) "The Music Of E.T.: A Discussion With John Williams" (HD 10:04), "The 20th Anniversary Premiere" (HD 17:49) and "Designs, Photographs And Marketing Of E.T."; deleted scenes (HD 03:40); the theatrical trailer; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 1.85:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR 10 picture was digitally photographed with Panavision cameras and lenses and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) Digital Intermediate master format, and reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display. As with the 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture that was impressively restored on the previous Blu-ray Disc, Spielberg himself supervised and approved the high-definition transfer. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been unconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Still, this new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc release looks absolutely pristine and never dated. Resolution and sharpness is impressively exceptional, with fine detail exhibited throughout. Contrast is perfectly balanced with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The opening scene with flashlights and other bright lights is further intensified by HDR enhancement. HDR is tastefully rendered throughout with impressive whites, such as exhibited in the make-shift hospital in Elliot's home, further enhancing contrast. Colors are naturally hued throughout, with rich and warm tones and an impressive wider color palette. Flesh tones are naturally rendered, and E.T.'s body texture is incredibly photogenic. Allen Daviau's cinematography is brilliantly presented and more impressive than ever, making this release as perfect as possible and not only faithful to its original 35mm presentation but impressively exceeding in picture quality. Viewing this release far better connects emotionally, no doubt due to the 2160 resolution and HDR, and is sure to enthrall loyal fans and new viewers no matter what their age. Brilliant! (Gary Reber)

The DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack heightens the emotional experience dramatically with a sweeping, immersive soundfield presentation largely supported by a magnificent orchestral music score composed by John Williams. Instrumental timbre is distinctive and beautifully captured. Soundstage depth and imaging is impressive, as in the subtle but prominent presence of the music in the surrounds, for an expansive soundstage that fully engulfs the listening space. Atmospherics and sound effects are natural sounding throughout and at times are sufficiently directionalized, to provide dimensional realism, especially providing ambiance during the many outdoor settings. Foley sound effects are totally realistic. Deep bass is not particularly prominent, yet the .1 LFE channel provides a solid, extended low-frequency foundation that never sounds exaggerated. The overall experience is one of a holosonic® spherical surround, spacious listening experience. John Williams' score has benefited the most from the remastering effort, with a far more emotional melody-rich flow emulating from every channel, to create a far more evocative experience. And the music is prominent, its extension to the height channel significantly enhances the dimensional depth of the soundfield. This release fully realizes the sonic impact of the telling of this wonderfully heartfelt story of compassion and hope. (Gary Reber)