Sunday, 20 September 2015

E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

The first Science Fiction movie I have ever seen in ET short for Extra Terrestrial. I was eight at that time. In those days television had just started becoming popular. So going to the theater to watch a movie was a real big thing for me. The movie was made in 1982 and director was Steven Spielberg. I did not get to know about Spielberg till the time of Jurassic Park many years later. Only recently while looking up on internet about ET, did I realize ET was by Spielberg too.

Coming to the story, it is the tale of a young boy who is a kind of aloof and depressed, finding an alien in the jungle. The alien is a thin short creature – greyish brown in color, bipedal and a benevolent reptilian look. The story goes on to portray the development of a bond between the alien and the boy. The boy’s brother and sister also are taken into confidence and they too befriend the alien. The middle segment of the movie is fun with the alien displaying super powers that cause viewers to marvel and some funny situations arising out of the mental bond between the alien and the boy. The key conflict in the story is whether the alien will be able to return  successfully to his own planet are not. The scientist on earth play the antagonists trying to retain the alien and use him for his experiments. The alien is trying to build a communication device to contact his fellow aliens. It is up to the kids to protect him from the scientists and help him return home. We have dramatic moments in between like the creature beginning to sicken and almost dying with the boy also getting affected due to his bond with the alien. Overall a good mix of emotions, fun and fantasy I would say – not much of real hardcore science as such.

Coming to my thoughts on the movie, at that age I was fascinated. But now if I were to see the movie, I would call it clichéd except for the nostalgia associated with it. There have been so many alien movies and there are typically two to three themes. The first one is the premise of this movie – a benevolent alien getting stranded on earth hounded by evil earth scientist and rescued by protagonists. The second one is hostile aliens trying to invade earth fended off by the team effort of the good scientists and cowboy hero. A third theme is possibly Earthmen exploring an alien planet and becoming enmeshed in their culture, religion and politics. The third has lot of scope and each movie can be very different from the other. But the first two are kind of limited in scope. However so many movies are based on the first two probably because they are easier to make. You don’t need that much graphics and the stories would not stretch the imagination of the story writer nor the viewer much. All you need to do is give different looks and powers to the aliens and have people from different situations as protagonist – children, boy and dad, friends, lovers etc. Then you mix the usual human relation drama with the predictable alien interaction theme and you have a movie.

This movie could have been the originator of the cliché and hence may itself escape being tagged as a cliché. For me personally, it was memorable, it being my initiation into the world of science fiction. I am not sure if I had even thought about existence of aliens before seeing that movie. The humorous situations arising out of the alien’s use of its powers are the fun part and enjoyable – guess this is the good part of this kind of movies which is not there in the alien attacking earth type of movies.

In the final analysis, I would recommend people to see it as one of the golden oldies. Nothing much to excite the core science fiction buff as such.

8 comments:

  1. Yeah - Similar nostalgia here. As, indeed, for another one 'Back to the Future' which was also a fun watch though it had a rather cavalier attitude to the paradoxes that time travel could create :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. But generally time travel paradoxes are tough to understand - so cavalier better than serious.

      Delete
  2. My first science movie was Star Wars and I am still smitten by the whole franchise, the recent good ups included. I had also watched 2001 A Space Odyssey rather early. I was an acknowledged science fiction aficionado in my younger days leading me to so many Asimov books. But with passing days a good amount of cyncism has crept in. I couldn't appreciate much except for Avatar of late.

    I can understand your affection for ET and I can relate with that. I loved the simplicity with which you captured the essence of ET.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Umashankar.

      I somehow missed the Star War saga when I was young. Saw all 6 of them in one go sometime in 2007. Space Odyssey also only read the book. Avatar was good - other than that not seen any great science fiction movie off late except maybe Matrix and Inception if you can call it SF.

      Delete
  3. How about Interstellar buddy? What is your take?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still need to see it. Not had much time for movies lately.

      Delete
  4. See just now I voted...23 became 25...

    ReplyDelete