The deleted scene you're waiting for is in here somewhere
The best thing about this documentary is that it repeats very little information from earlier features and reveals more new anecdotes and behind the scenes stuff. That's what you get when you have your own personal biographer to do all your behind the scenes and DVD features (Laurent Bauzeneau). For instance, screenwriter Melissa Matheson explains how E.T. if really filling the spot of the absentee father in the family without really knowing it (I always thought they saw him more as a pet). During recollections and footage from the original screen-tests of all the main characters, most of the actors mention the parts they did not get that got them in the running for E.T.
It was decided to show as little as possible of the alien creature in the beginning of the film. Of course they threw this out the window for the anniversary edition. In the new version, E.T. is skipping about like a bush Kangaroo right at the start and STILL manages to miss his space ship. For almost the entire first half of the picture, E.T. is always back lit or in the shadows yet in the reinstated bathroom scene that thing from another world is in good light all the time and his new ILM cartoon animation face is emoting like crazy. Those ILM-ers really should go into computer animated films full time instead of putting cartoon characters into live action.
Drew Barrymore explains how E.T. thought her all about love. No wonder she's so screwy. She also mentions that her face was on every bedspread and T-shirt in 1982, yet the ones we get to see mostly feature the Extra Terrestrial on his own. Robert MacNaughton looks even weirder than Barrymore this time around, with dreadlocks and a goatee. He recollects a secret meeting with Charles and Di after the London premiere. Unfortunately this anecdote suddenly fades to black (censored) and we move on to the 20th anniversary. Spielberg wanted absolutely no changes that would call attention to the change, just enhancements (fix the sky, enhance the ship and make him as fast as a speeding bullet). When is the new and enhanced Jurassic Park coming out where the Dino's no longer have any teeth?
Apart from the bathroom scene, only one other deleted scene was allowed back in, the effect free(!) Halloween Tipi sequence. This means we still miss the infamous 'principal' scene co starring Harrison Fords' hands and a Rubik's cube. This documentary finally gives us some rough footage, but it's so dark and back lid, it looks like the opening scene of The Godfather. This scene would have introduced the fact that E.T. could levitate objects, which is exactly why Spiel did not put it back in 'this' reissue (notice the way he phrased that), as he did not want to change the story too much. Yet another scene left on the cutting room floor featuring Elliott drawing diagrams on the school wall and Melissa Mathison's cameo as a nurse is never even mentioned.
The final part of the documentary is dominated by ILM nerds who created new facial muscles (actually a whole new face) so E.T. could show more emotions. But why would an alien have human like expressions anyway? cats and dogs only have limitless facial muscles and we still love them. Tex Avery would have said: "Enough is too much".
8 out of 10
One more thing. it looks like Spielberg is wearing a Jurassic park cap in some of the 1981 footage. Does this mean he really has a working Delorean time machine?
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