E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial Books

From Concept to Classic
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
The Book of The Green Planet

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E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial
From Concept to Classic
The Illustrated Story of the Film and the Filmmakers
Introduction by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay by Melissa Mathison. Interviews by Laurent Bouzereau.
Pocket Books. 2002. Pbk. 220 colour stills. 192 pages. £15.99.

When E.T. was released in 1982 it took the World by storm. The expression ĎE.T. phone homeí entered our language and tons of E.T. merchandise filed our homes.

 In the introduction to this book Spielberg shows that E.T. is still close to his heart and that he would not like to dilute itís impact with a sequel. For him this is still his most personal film and to celebrate itís 20th anniversary he re-mastered and re-released it. 

In the Restoration chapter it is intriguing to see the amount of work that was put into the re-mastered version. For example, in the original they used in miniature set for the landing sequence that, in the new one they re-created the landing site as a full-size set to show the impact of wind from the spaceship blowing the nearby trees. This time they used real boys on bikes rather than puppets in the flying sequences and a lot of work was done to make E.T.ís movements more life-like. Basically they have ironed out the wrinkles of the original (or ironed them in where necessary) but they have not tampered with the essence of the story itself.

The book tells how the original film took shape, but the core of it is Mathisonís screenplay, which is accompanied by stills, script notes, interviews and snippets of information.

The theatrical release of E.T. in 2002 seems to have had little impact, but Iím sure it will still wring tears from the most hardened viewer and will probably do better on DVD.

E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial
William Kotzwinkle
Pocket Books. 2002. Pbk. 265 pages. £6.99.

E. T. The Book of The Green Planet
William Kotzwinkle
Pocket Books. 2002. Pbk. 269 pages. £6.99.

The first novel is based on Mathisonís screenplay, but it gives more insight into E.T.ís thinking than the movie. The second follows E.T. to his home planet where he worries about Elliott. Meanwhile, Elliott is turning into a man and is quickly forgetting E.T.ís peaceful philosophy. E.T. turns rebel and attempts to return to Earth to Ďsaveí Elliott.

Nigel Watson

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