I sense limited interest in the 25th anniversary screening of E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial at the Academy theatre on Thursday night. Just as Steven Spielberg‘s esteem has begun to diminish, so has the legend of this 1982 film. And I’m saying this as someone who truly worshipped E.T. when it first came out, and who interviewed Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore for an Us magazine cover story.
It’s certainly one of Spielberg’s finest, but the saturation has been so commercially relentless — the Universal theme-park ride, that awful Neil Diamond song “Heartlight.” the endless parade of DVD re-dips — that it’s pretty much worn out its welcome. Universal’s eagerness to exploit it again and again has become boorish.
It wouldn’t kill me if by some bizarre circumstance I would never be allowed to see E.T. again. I think I could live with that. On top of which it has the usual Spielberg irritants. I’ve always been irritated by that moment when Henry Thomas just drops the pizza takeout on the back lawn. And I’ve always hated the scene in which security guys in space-walk suits invade the house.
Spielberg’s decision to digitally replace the guns in the hands of FBI agents with walkie-talkies wasn’t as bad as George Lucas’s decision to have Greedo shoot first, but it was in the same revisionist ballpark. I’m just done with it. Enough. Tens of thousands feel this way, I suspect.