|This 20th Anniversary edition of E.T. introduces the warmth and sense of magic of Steven Spielberg's much-loved movie to a whole new generation. And it is the youngsters at whom this new version has been aimed, with the film being given a Star Wars-style make-over in the hope that it will appeal to a generation weaned on digital effects. Thus, ET now has a souped-up space ship and the pursuing FBI agents are more politically correct, carrying walkie-talkies in place of guns. They've even given ET himself a CGI face-lift, digitally replacing the beloved puppet in certain scenes.
But this is no Apocalypse Now Redux. The re-edited scenes are small and insignificant to the plot: the only additional footage of any note is ET taking a bath and demonstrating that he can breathe underwater, which is amusing but irrelevant. The surprise is that the deleted scene with Harrison Ford playing Elliot's school Principal has still not made it to the new version. Despite such grumbles, E.T. is still the joyful experience it was 20 years ago, only this time grown-ups can follow the story through an added glow of nostalgia, as they fondly remember just how great BMXs were! --Nikki Disney
On the DVD: E.T.--20th Anniversary Edition has the revised version of the movie (but not the original cut) on Disc One, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and with a choice of gloriously remastered Dolby 5.1 or DTS sound options. The major beneficiary of this new presentation is John Williams' outstanding music score, which uniquely can also be played along with the film in the live version from the LA Shrine Auditorium 2002 premiere. A documentary about Williams conducting this extraordinary performance and a feature on his original scoring sessions are the best extra features on Disc Two. Other documentaries cover the "Evolution and Creation of ET"; a "Reunion" of the principal cast and crew with some fun behind-the-scenes footage; a piece on the planets of the Solar System narrated by ET himself (!); a photo gallery; trailers, and DVD-ROM extras. There's no director's commentary, but Spielberg does briefly introduce the movie on Disc One. --Mark Walker