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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

September 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For fans of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and have the equipment to play 4K Ultra HD films, then definitely upgrade to this 4K Ultra HD 35th Anniversary release.  The film looks and sounds better than ever and I highly recommend Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD.

Images courtesy of © 1982 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1982

DURATION: 1 Hr. and 55 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

COMPANY: Universal

RATED: PG

RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2017


Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by Melissa Mathison

Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

Associate Producer:  Melissa Mathison

Music by John Williams

Cinematography by Allen Daviau

Edited by Carol Littleton

Casting by Jane Feinberg, Mike Fenton, Marci Liroff

Production Design by James D. Bissell

Set Decoration by Jackie Carr

Costume Design by Kurt and Bart


Starring:

Dee Wallace as Mary

Henry Thomas as Elliott

Peter Coyote as Keys

Robert MacNaughton as Michael

Drew Barrymore as Gertie

K.C. Martel as Greg

Sean Frye as Steve

C. Thomas Howell as Tyler

Erika Eleniak as Pretty Girl


Relive the adventure and magic in one of the most beloved motion pictures of all-time, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg. Captivating audiences of all ages, this timeless story follows the unforgettable journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends. Join Elliot (Henry Thomas), Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and Michael (Robert MacNaughton) as they come together to help E.T. find his way back home, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is “one of the great American films” (Leonard Maltin) that forever belongs in the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.


As the film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” celebrates its 35th anniversary this year and 2017 features the film’s debut on 4K Ultra HD.

There is no denying how beloved this film is.  A personal film created and directed by Steven Spielberg, the concept came from his imaginary friend that he had after his parents divorce in 1960.  He and writer Melissa Mathison would eventually develop the film and with a budget of $10.5 million, the film would become the highest-grossing film of all time for eleven years until Spielberg topped it in 1993 with his film “Jurassic Park”.

But “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is well-known for everyone going out to watch the film, critics praised the film and for “Star Wars” fans, remembering that “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” would overthrow the film as the highest-grossing film but yet paying a homage to the film by featuring the toys in the film.

The film would launch Steven Spielberg’s career, it would also launch the careers of young Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, but also would featuring up-and-coming talent with C. Thomas Howell and Erika Eleniak. While talents Dee Wallace and Peter Coyote had established careers, their careers would no doubt receive a boost from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.  And for producer Kathleen Kennedy, it was a beginning of what would become a string of consecutive high-grossing films in her producing oeuvre.

Considered by many as the greatest film ever made, in 1994, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The film was re-released in 1985, would have a 20th Anniversary release in 2002 which featured a new premiere and a reunion of the cast and it’s first release on DVD.  And here we are in 2017 as the film will be celebrating it’s 35th Anniversary and the film makes its debut on 4K Ultra HD.

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” begins with alien botanists landing in a forest in California.  As they are obtaining plant samples, government agents arrive on scene and as the aliens flee in their spaceship, one is left behind.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to a ten-year-old boy named Elliott (portrayed by Henry Thomas) who is trying to fit in with his brother Michael (portrayed by Robert MacNaughton) and his friends, but also living with his recently-separated mother Mary (portrayed by Dee Wallace) and his younger sister Gertie (portrayed by Drew Barrymore).

As Elliott goes outside to meet with the pizza delivery person and get pizza for his brother’s party, he hears a noise inside the shed.  As he throws a baseball towards the shed, someone throws the ball back at him.

Freaking out, he runs inside telling everyone something is in the shed.  And when Michael and his friends go to check, they see footprints and suspect a coyote.

As Elliott doesn’t believe it’s a coyote and thinks it may be a goblin, he is made fun of by Michael and his friends.

This leads Elliott to do a test by placing Reese’s Pieces candy to see if he can lure whatever it maybe to his home and sure enough, he is able to lure an alien to his home.

Elliott eventually introduces Michael and also Gertie to the alien and they decide to keep it hidden from their mother.

The alien which they name E.T. is an intelligent life form that learns from the humans and tries to show them where he lives by levitating balls and also he revives a dead chrysanthemum.

It’s not long after, Elliott and E.T. begin to share a psychic connection.  Meanwhile, government agents start to do research around the forest and find Reese’s Pieces and are thinking that the alien was lured to a nearby neighborhood.  And start to use listening devices to hear any conversations that may be going on the neighborhood to see if someone had lured the alien to their home.

Meanwhile, the longer E.T. stays in Earth, Michael starts to notice that E.T. is getting sick and after seeing a comic strip featuring Buck Rogers, E.T. sees how humans are able to have devices to call home and E.T. tries to find ways to make a device to communicate with his fellow aliens to come back and retrieve him on Earth.

But as E.T. is getting sicker and the government agents are nearby, what will happen to both E.T.and Elliott, who is showing signs of being sick like E.T. as they both share a psychic connection.


VIDEO:

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” receives its first 4K Ultra HD release and is presented in 2160p (Widescreen 1:85:1 aspect ratio).

Having watched this film on DVD upon its first release and then on Blu-ray, I can easily say that the 4K Ultra HD is fantastic.  For the most part, the film doesn’t even seem ’80s because the resolution is so great.  But during the scenes with visual effects (such as Elliot and E.T. bike scene on air), the technology of its time does show its age in that moment.  Bu for the most part, this is the best version of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” that I have seen to date!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is equally impressive. Featured in English DTS-X Immersive Audio, Brazilian, Portuguese, French European, Japanese, L.A. Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1 and English, Japanese DTS Digital Surround 2.0.

The film has a blend of crystal clear dialogue and the musical score by John Williams is spectacular!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Brazilian, Portuguese, Complex Mandarin, French Canadian, Japanese and L.A. Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • Deleted Scenes – (3:37) Deleted scenes from the film.
  • Steven Spielberg & E.T. – (12:31) Steven Spielberg discusses how he created E.T. and how he came up with the concept of the film.
  • The E.T. Journals – (53:37) A two-part documentary on the making of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” back in 1981.
  • A Look Back – (37:43) A look back during the film of “E.T.” with behind-the-scenes footage and also interviews with cast and crew.
  • The Evolution and Creation of E.T. – (50:13) A featurette on the making of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”
  • The E.T. Reunion – (17:55) The 20th Anniversary Reunion with Dee Wallace, Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas, K.C. Martel, Peter Coyote, Steven Spielberg and producer Kathleen Kennedy.
  • The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams – (10:03) A featurette with John Williams on creating the music for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.
  • The 20th Anniversary Premiere – (17:49) A featurette of planning the 20th Anniversary Premiere with a live orchestra conducted by John Williams and setting up the stage at the Shrine Auditorium.
  • Designs, Photographs and Marketing – Featuring E.T. designs by production illustrator Ed Verreaux, E.T. Designs by Carla Rambaldi, Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie, Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux, Production Photographs and Marketing E.T.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Special Olympics TV Spot

EXTRAS:

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I grew up during the time “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was released in theaters.  I can easily remember going to my uncle’s wedding in Reno, Nevada and hearing the news on the radio of how the film became the highest-grossing film of all time.

But the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” madness didn’t end there, I purchased an Atari game which was supposed to be based on the film that frustrated me to no end and I also had a life-size E.T. toy chest, which my brother and I would use to scare my little sister when she was misbehaving.

I have to admit that I was indifferent towards the film, a little bit bitter as the film would kick “Star Wars” out of the top spot of highest-grossing films of all time.  But yet, each time I watched the film, I could see it’s charm, I could see why it attracted people to want to watch it many times.

And as I got older, I watched the film and appreciated it even more.  Especially when I first introduced the film to my child and he got to watch it and enjoy it.

And having watched this film many times, here I am reviewing it for the 35th anniversary release on 4K Ultra HD.

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is a film that captivates you.  A young boy who meets his first true friend and having to lose that friend.  A sci-fi film which government agents want to capture the alien and learn from it.  An action film as the children do whatever they can to protect their sick friend.  And the fact that the child actors believed E.T. to not be a puppet but like a living being, is what sold the film to audiences.

And even back for the film’s 20th Anniversary, the cast talked honestly about how they never thought about E.T. as a puppet but as an actual thing that was truly alive and that was quite fascinating.

It’s a film that moved audiences, a film that moved President Reagan and his wife, a film that moved Princess Diana and it was a film that was no doubt a masterpiece by Steven Spielberg who would go on to make many more wonderful films in his long oeuvre.

And it’s a film that will no doubt stand the test of time with a new generation of moviegoers.

Now there are a few things I must discuss, for those who owned the 20th Anniversary version which had both the theatrical and the 20th Anniversary Extended Version of the film.  The 2002 version digitally removed the guns used by government agents with walkie talkies (towards the end of the film).

In 2011, Steven Spielberg made it clear that there will be no more digital enhancements and perhaps he learned by fan backlash of the George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” trilogy and also backlash from critics and also ridiculed in a “South Park” episode, no doubt Spielberg learned a lesson.  He has made it clear that he wants people to watch the original 1982 version and sure enough, with the 4K Ultra HD release, you are getting the 1982 film and yes, the agents have their guns.  And no, the 2002 version is not included.  So, if you like that version, keep (or find) that 2002 20th Anniversary DVD release.

As far as the 4K Ultra HD version is concerned, this is the best version I have seen of this film to date.  While created in 1982, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD doesn’t even look its age.  It looks almost recent, aside from when the bike flying scene is shown, that is the only time where old technology and 4K Ultra HD tends to show the aging visual effects of its time.  But other than that, everything else about this film looks great in 4K!  The lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue especially crystal clear music from John Williams.  And last, all the 20th Anniversary special features from the DVD are included in this release and more.

Overall, for fans of “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and have the equipment to play 4K Ultra HD films, then definitely upgrade to this 4K Ultra HD 35th Anniversary release.  The film looks and sounds better than ever and I highly recommend Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” on 4K Ultra HD.

The BFG (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

For Dahl fans, “The BFG” is a magical, entertaining and delightful film. It’s also a wonderful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, brought to life by filmmaker Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison that will entertain families for generations to come. Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The BFG

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 118 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:39:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Description Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: PG (For Action, Peril, Some Scary Moments and Brief Rude Humor)

RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2016


Directed by Steven Spielberg

Based on the Book by Roald Dahl

Screenplay by Melissa Mathison

Produced by Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer, Steven Spielberg

Co-Producer: Adam Somner

Associate Producer: Melissa Mathison

Executive Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Kristie Macosko Krieger, John Madden, Michael Siegel

Music by John Williams

Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski

Edited by Michael Kahn

Production Design by Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg

Art Direction by Chris Beach, Margot Ready, Todd Cherniawsky, Grant Van Der Slagt, Rebecca Milton

Set Decoration by Michael A. Billings, Elizabeth Wilcox

Costume Design by Joanna Johnston


Starring:

Mark Rylance as BFG

Ruby Barnhill as Sophie

Penelope Wilton as The Queen

Jemaine Clement as Fleshlumpeater

Rebecca Hall as Mary

Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs

Bill Hader as Bloodbottler


When a mysterious 10-year-old boy, Pete, turns up, claiming to live in the woods with a giant green dragon, it’s up to a forest ranger, Grace, and young Natalie to learn where the boy came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this magical dragon.


Back in 1982, British novelist Roald Dahl (“James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, to name a few) would write “The BFG”.

And in 2016, filmmaker Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan”, “Schindler’s List”, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”) and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”, “Kundun”, “Twilight Zone: The Movie”) would go on to create a live-film adaptation of Dahl’s popular novel for Disney, which would be Spielberg’s first directorial film for Walt Disney Pictures.

The film would be the final film which Melissa Mathison had written before her death.  And the movie is dedicated to her.

The film would star Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, “Intimacy”), Penelope Wilton (“Match Point”, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, “Shaun of the Dead”), Jermaine Clement (“Men in Black 3”, “Rio” films), Rebecca Hall (“The Prestige”, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, “Iron Man 3”), Rafe Spall (“Prometheus”, “Life of Pi”, “Shaun of the Dead”) and Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”, “Superbad”).

And now “The BFG” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Disney.

The film revolves around 10-year-old orphan, Sophie (portrayed by Ruby Barnhill) and lives in a London orphanage and can’t sleep at nights due to insomnia.

One night at 3:00 a.m., she looked outside the window and sees an elderly giant.  The giant (portrayed by Mark Rylance) who tried to keep hidden realizes he has been seen and so he grabs onto Sophie and takers her to Giant Country.

Known as “BFG” (Big Friendly Giant), he explains to Sophie that she must stay with him for the rest of her life, because he is not allowed to reveal the existence of giants.  She also finds out that BFG can captures and controls dreams, but since she has insomnia, she doesn’t believe that he can control them.

The BFG manages to read her to sleep but gives her a nightmare of trying to escape but being eaten by another giant.

When she awakes, the leader of the man-eating giants, Fleshlumpeater (portrayed by Jermaine Clement), has entered BFG’s home and smells a human (which they call “bean”).  While hungry, the BFG manages to distract Fleshlumpeater from finding and eating Sophie.

As Sophie and the BFG talk about going to the Dream Country, so they can catch dreams together, while traveling, he accidentally wakes up the Bloodbottler (portrayed by Bill Hader) who wakes up the other giants and together, the giants (who are much more taller than the BFG) bully and torment him.

When the storm comes, the BFG and Sophie manages to escape but in the process, she leaves a blanket and when Fleshlumpeater, the Bloodbottler and the other man-eating giants catch the scent of a human, they are now determined in trying to eat Sophie and search for the BFG.

Can the BFG protect Sophie from the man-eating giants?


VIDEO:

“The BFG” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film looks absolutely fantastic as closeups show great detail, especially when Sophie and the BFG first come in contact with the other man-eating giants and you can see the pores and hair on the arms of the giants clearly. Outdoor scenes look lush and the CG was done very well.  Once again, another Disney film that looks simply amazing on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The BFG” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks. The lossless soundtrack is fantastic as the film features quite a bit of action and these scenes manage utilize the surround channels and the LFE very well.  And also, capturing the ambiance of the land (storms) to even the more magical moments of the film. Dialogue and music are crystal clear and for the most part, the lossless soundtrack is fantastic.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The BFG” comes with the following special features:

  • Bringing “The BFG” to Life – (27:09) Actress Ruby Barnhill takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the making of “The BFG”.
  • The Big Friendly Giant and Me – (1:47) An animated story about The Big Friendly Giant and the little “bean”.
  • Gobblefunk: The Wonderful Words of the BFG – (3:09) A tutorial on the language of the BFG.
  • Giants 101 – (4:57) A featurette about the actors who portray the nine giants in the film.
  • Melissa Mathison: A Tribute – (5:53) A tribute to screenwriter Melissa Mathison and how Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall approached Melissa on writing “The BFG” and Spielberg’s working relationship with Melissa.  And how a few of the crew of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” reunited together for “The BFG”.

EXTRAS:

“The BFG” comes with a slipcover and a Disney Movie Rewards code. Also, included is a DVD version of the film.


For those who have read a book or have watched a film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s work, probably have come to realize by now that his stories are well-written and for the most part, have entertained generations.

From “James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Matilda”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” to name a few, the latest film adaptation is “The BFG” directed by Steven Spielberg and a screenplay by Melissa Mathison is well-done, entertaining and me and my son had a lot of fun watching the film.

But while Roald Dahl is known by many who grew up watching his films, for today’s younger generation who are familiar with today’s writers and superhero films, perhaps images of a young girl and an older, elderly giant was not enough to entice them to watch the film, and the lack of familiarity of Dahl’s work may have prevented “The BFG” from being a major box office success.

Which is a sad because Dahl’s stories have entertained generations for decades.  And while the film fortunately earned more than the film’s entire budget, the same situation that “The BFG” experienced happened with the animated adaptation of Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.  Critically acclaimed, beloved by Dahl fans and those familiar with Dahl’s work.

But one can hope that similar to “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “The BFG” is able to attract viewers now that the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD.    Steven Spielberg and Melissa Mathison did a fantastic job for the adaptation and the storyline is fun, adventurous and one can’t help but laughing and be entertained by the film.  Snozzcumbers anyone?

Young Ruby Barnhill did an amazing job portraying Sophie and as child actors go, she managed to do very well with her lines and showing good emotion towards the BFG and that is one thing that helps when you have filmmaker Steven Spielberg behind-the-helm.  CG is wonderfully done and for the most part, the film is entertaining and enjoyable.

And as Spielberg is a fantastic director, many of us will miss Melissa Mathison’s work as a screenwriter, as this film was her last before her death back in 2015.  So, in a way, this is a reunion of a few of the crew from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”.

On Blu-ray, the closeups are fantastic as detail can really be seen and videophiles will more than likely be pleased.  Also, lossless audio is fantastic thanks to the abundant live action sequences, John Williams’ wonderful score and overall, magical ambiance that is showcased throughout the film.  And the Blu-ray also includes a good number of special features.

Overall, for Dahl fans, “The BFG” is a magical, entertaining and delightful film.  It’s also a wonderful adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book, brought to life by filmmaker Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison that will entertain families for generations to come.  Recommended!

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