E.T. - THE
To get to the bonus features menu you have to skip past
two screens, one to establish what language you want the menus in, and one
to select either the subtitles of your choice (wild guess - presumably
this would be the same language you wanted the menus in?) or the bonus
features. Welcome to Europe.
EVOLUTION AND CREATION OF E.T.
screen this is called E.T. - The 20th Anniversary Celebration, and
is a very solid retrospective documentary prepped by Laurent Bouzereau,
some of which had been made available before (on an NTSC laserdisc).
There's a lot of on-set footage, including many shots of Spielberg coaxing
a performance from his young cast members, and several sequences showing
the animatronic puppets being operated. There's plenty of charming footage
of the seven-year old Drew Barrymore, goofing around and empathising with
the puppet, and some clips from Henry Thomas' audition tape, too. About a
quarter of an hour is devoted to the changes Spielberg has made to the
film for the 20th Anniversary reissue. There is also some tantalising
clips from deleted scenes, including the legendary Harrison Ford cameo.
There are also contributions from all the main cast members (the novelty
of this soon wears off, since they are also the focus of another bonus
feature) and key crew members, including writer Melissa Mathison and
producer Kathleen Kennedy. This is one aspect of the Region 2 disc that
scores over the Region 1 two-disc set, which cuts the documentary in half
(it's apparently available in full on the three-disc version).
THE E.T. REUNION [17'57"]
Anecdotes and reminiscences from a cast
reunion. Impressively, the bonds between them are still strong, despite
the various paths their careers and lives have taken since the film was
released. This segment includes behind-the-scenes footage taken on the day
when Spielberg, getting into the spirit of the Hallowe'en celebrations,
gamely turned up dressed as a woman,
much to the amusement of his cast and crew. This is apparently an abridged
version of a programme that aired on American TV earlier this year.
THE MUSIC OF E.T. [10'03"]
Is there one single element more
important to the film's success than John Williams' Oscar-winning score?
There's footage from the film's original 1982 scoring sessions to break up
the monotony of a simple talking-head shot. This section puts the composer
in the spotlight for a change, for some insights into the score, and his
long-lasting relationship with Spielberg. Has there been a closer
bond between composer and director since Bernard Herrmann scored Marnie
THE 20th ANNIVERSARY PREMIERE
Bearing the unwieldy on-screen title of Live
at the Shrine! John Williams and the world premiere of E.T. The Extra
Terrestrial - The 20th Anniversary, this is the documentary that
should have been on disc one, to precede the presentation of the optional
John Williams audio track. Williams describes likens performing at the
event to "a two-hour opera without intermission", and it does
indeed seem to have been a remarkable feat, which required enormous
preparation and no inconsiderable amount of stamina! The documentary shows
that Williams performed an overture to the film at the event, which should
also have been included on disc one.
DESIGNS, PHOTOGRAPHS and MARKETING
A comprehensive gallery of sketches,
designs and photographs, broken down into six sections. Annoyingly, the
viewer has no control over the speed of presentation (which is excessively
lethargic), and there's no audio for these (which total about half an
hour). It's interesting to wade through, but this would have been better
presented in a more user-friendly way. It would have been an ideal feature
to present on the discs DVD-Rom section, enabling viewers to browse the
pictures at their own pace.
Kids might get a tiny thrill out of this
guide to the solar system, presented by E.T., but it's doubtful if
anyone with an IQ in double figures will be spending more than a minute or
A [2'05] trailer for the 2002 re-issue,
an advert for the Ubisoft E.T. computer game [1'30"] and an
advert for the forthcoming Back to the Future trilogy DVD box set
DVD-Rom TOTAL AXESS
There's a trailer for this feature,
which advertises the exclusive material that will is being made available
on Universal's website. I'll spare you the rant here, suffice to say that
anything that is available on the website should have been put on the DVD.
Presumably this is where the unedited deleted scenes will be found. Since
Universal have chosen to use the gawdawful InterActive interface, it's
likely that a lot of people won't be using this feature.
what else is missing from the UK set that you can get on the Region 1
editions? Well, not an awful lot, frankly. There's a forty-minute
documentary about Spielberg's career (Spielberg: A Look Back), a Spotlight
On Location featurette which covers much the same ground as the Evolution
and Creation featurette, the original theatrical trailer, production
notes and that's about it. There's no commentary track on any of the
available discs. Spielberg is adverse to contributing them, but it would
have been fun to have had one from the cast members.
So, which version is the best? Sadly,
there's no one definitive package to opt for. Purists will probably want
to get the two-disc Region 1 version (which is the only version that
offers the 1982 version of the film (more or less) with a DTS soundtrack),
or the forthcoming three-disc UK version.
If you want the best selection of extras, bells and whistles, you'll need the Region 1
three-disc gift set (which also comes with a hardback book, a Senitype
film cell and the soundtrack CD). If you're not too bothered about getting
the full range of extras, or - heresy - having the original 1982 version
of the film, then the UK set should be most acceptable.
BACK TO DISC ONE