Quick-Thoughts: Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Screened at Regal • 3rd Viewing

“You must be dead, because I don’t know how to feel. I can’t feel anything anymore.” 

It’s a bit ironic that this film about learning to cope with what’s not ideal subsequently took on a huge role in popularizing fairytale idealism in western cinematic storytelling, but in spite of such to this day inspirationally, through Spielbergian quietude and minimalism, preaches doing the right thing for others and not necessarily for your species or clan, because — let’s face it — if they did dissect E.T., determining his source of power, then perhaps cancer could be cured, injuries could cease to exist, we could have unlimited agricultural supply, the environment could flourish once more, heck! Humanity could’ve probably became Valhalla! Oops, but…

E.T. is correct, we are ALL residing right here. However, the world isn’t only ours. Taking some of it one by one is no miracle, but perhaps sharing it would be. We’re always coexisting whether or not humanity’s mission seems involved with trying to ironically avoid it via pilfering. Animals will always appear like extraterrestrials to one another, and they/we will always respond in contrasting ways to one another based on our nature and evolution. We come or stay in each other’s vicinities, and it can both excite yet compel us from applying common morality to the new and unknown. Everything beautiful we want to ourselves — a father who could accept just a piece of this world, the love of your life, an outer-space discovery — but the reality is we can’t control it all. We can’t have everyone’s power or advantages no matter how close we think we’re getting. Not everything should and admittedly does promote human welfare. And yet, even with that reality-check in mind, we can still control how we compensate for it so that we can keep on living better. There is always a place to look towards, from either home or someone else’s, from the tangible and all the way to the imagined. Voids can be replaced, especially if we’re willing to barter with one another, and maybe most importantly, ourselves. Doing the right thing usually starts with doing the right thing for yourself as demonstrated by the film’s lead when he’s compelled to help a stranger “phone home”. 

It’s natural for us to want to understand whatever is “alien”, but we forgot to feel for whomever or whatever during the attempt as well; rarely does an Elliot come by to do that for us. “This is reality, Greg!” 

Verdict: B

Steven Spielberg Ranked

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is now playing in IMAX theaters. 

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