WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Genre:Science Fiction

Reviewed In Issue 22 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore & Henry Thomas

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 5
Sound Rating: 3.5
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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Only 8,000 laserdiscs were manufactured of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial in this collector’s gem of a box set. Attractively packaged, each numbered box set contains an insert piece with Steven Spielberg’s signature, rare production stills and chapter indicators for the presentation spread to seven sides. The film is spread to five CAV sides. A still frame E.T. Archives begins near the end of side 5. CLV sides 6 and 7 present a 94 minute retrospective documentary entitled The Making Of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The still frame section includes early E.T. character sketches, spaceship designs, behind-the-scenes photos and special effects material. The documentary traces the film’s modest beginnings to its incredible boxoffice success, still the highest grossing film in America. There are interviews with many of the people who worked on the film intercut with never before seen behind-the-scenes footage shot by Oscar®-winning cinematographer John Toll and outtakes. One dropped scene shows a cameo Harrison Ford as a school principal. The chapters on “Creating The Creature” and “Working With E.T.” show the various ways E.T. was brought to life through conceptual designs and drawings. Screenwriter Melissa Matheson and Spielberg discuss the story’s development but sadly there is no script or explanation why the name “E.T.” became the title. Also included is a segment of Henry Thomas’ original audition tape, the original theatrical trailers, marketing, advertising and publicity materials. Another feature of this limited edition is a gold compact disc with a digitally mastered, newly extended version of composer John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score.

DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): MCA/Universal Home Video
(Catalog Number): 42734
(MPAA Rating): PG
(Retail Price): $149.98
(Running Time In Minutes): 115
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1982
(LD Release Date): 10/96
(THX® Digitally Mastered): Yes

Credits Information
(Director): Steven Spielberg
(Screenplay/Written By): Melissa Mathison
(Story): NA
(Music): John Williams
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): James D. Bissell
(Visual Effects):
(Costume Designer):
(Editor): Carol Littleton
(Supervising Sound Editors):
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): NA
(Co-Producers): NA
(Producers): Steven Spielberg & Kathleen Kennedy

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography): Academy Standard Flat
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 1.85:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 1.75:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo A & 70mm 6 Track Dolby
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital):
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround):
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial remains today an extraordinary film, one that will warm your heart with its wondrous entertainment and magic. Its story about human values, understanding, compassion and love are timeless as told through the perspective of a young boy’s (Henry 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.

LaserDisc Picture:
The THX®-quality assured picture is matted at 1.75:1 and is virtually identical in visual quality to the edition (40925) reviewed in Issue 1, which merited our highest rating, as does this release. Picture quality is exemplary with excellent contrast, natural colors that are vividly rich and warm, deep solid blacks and natural fleshtones.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The soundtrack is problematic, though the reversed stereo channels have been corrected. The sound is brittle and harsh overall and exceedingly loud by reference standards—about 10dB louder compared to the previous boxed CAV edition, which sounds overall harmonically richer, not harsh. Dialogue presence on this edition is always forward and not well integrated compared to the previous edition. Decidedly, this edition is wanting in naturalness.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz):
(Aggressive System Surround):
(Intense 25Hz Bass):
(Deep Bass Challenging):
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield):
(Aggressive Split Surround):
(Center Back Surround Imaging):
(Directionalized Dialogue):
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: