ET: The Extra-Terrestrial 20th Anniversary Edition review

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Steven Spielberg was genuinely surprised when ET became the biggest-grossing movie ever. He’d intended it as a small, personal film and sprinkled it with autobiographical details – okay, so he’d never met a turd-like alien, but for Elliot’s (Henry Thomas) absent father, look at the director’s own upbringing. It seemed incredible that so many people shared his vision, his life, his fantasy.

Now, 20 years on, Spielberg’s fully aware of ET’s spell, and here rereleases his lovable-space-creature-slums-it-in-suburbia movie with a few tweaks and a diligent digital polish. All-new shots and scenes include a full-length CG ET pegging it back to his ship, ET smiling in the bath, a wide shot of the spaceship barrelling towards the stars and, most controversially, the cops’ guns replaced by walkie-talkies at the road block. All are debatable, as any purist will shout at you, but we’re talking seconds of screen time here – and there’s nothing to upset like George Lucas’ decision to make Greedo shoot first.

What really matters is that ET stands up – and how. From the pitch-perfect characterisation to John Williams’ soaring score to the magical effects, it’s every bit as good as you remember. And you know what? You’re still gonna need those tissues...

NOVERDICT

More info

Platform"GBA"
Less

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, New Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Jack Shepherd. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.