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E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Single Film Study: Part 2

Darin Caudle | Wednesday January 10, 2018

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Directors, Steven Spielberg, Hollywood Films, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Genres & Case Studies, Families, Science Fiction

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  • E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Single Film Study: Part 1

Key Sequence Analysis

E.T. goes home (final scene in the film) – 1:43:53 – 1:50:59

The sequence begins with a close-up on the makeshift communicator that Elliott and E.T. have constructed, an important prop that signifies E.T.’s ability to transform the everyday items of childhood and suburbia into something fantastical. As Elliott approaches the communicator, the lights from E.T.’s mothership beam down causing the boy to gaze upward in its direction, leaving us in no doubt that the homemade device has done its work. Elliott approaches the waiting E.T. as the creature’s heart light begins to glow, indicating the emotional excitement E.T. feels.

Elliott’s red hoodie matches the red glow from E.T.’s heart light, reminding us of how the colour red has been used throughout the film (in Elliott’s closet or the light outside in his backyard) to indicate E.T.’s magical presence and the emotional connection between Elliott and E.T. As the spaceship slowly descends, Spielberg intersperses a series of reaction shots of everyone on the ground, expanding the duration of the landing through editing so the spectator can fully appreciate the characters’ wonderstruck faces. The close up of E.T. saying ‘Home’ is particularly moving, with the subtle changes in E.T.’s facial expressions serving as a testament to the skill involved in creating such a lifelike and compelling puppet. In the proceeding close-up of Elliott, we see his face go from exalted wonderment to something more troubled, his initial joy at the awesome sight of the ship turning into the bittersweet realisation that E.T. will shortly be gone. We see the ship land in an extreme long shot giving us a sense of how massive the craft is in comparison to the tiny figures of the boys staring up at it. This shot, executed through a combination of modelling work and blue screen...


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