Steven Spielberg’s movie that made it OK to love aliens – or at least one, in the titular squishy little brown thing at the heart of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – makes the leap onto 4K Ultra HD. Is it a triumph, or was it phoned hom- erm, in?
The story: Plant-loving aliens touch down in California, but are soon disturbed by government agents. They freak out and hastily take off – inadvertently leaving one of their kind behind. A little later, young Elliott returns home from pizza-fetching duties to discover something odd going on in the shed. Here he encounters E.T., and our story of good versus evil (to strip it down to its most basic) begins, as Elliott and his siblings try to protect their new friend from the government and send him home safely.
The 4K disc: Mastered from a 2012 4K transfer of the original film (where guns were guns, not magically superimposed walkie-talkies), this is a pure 4K release with added HDR. We were worried upon seeing the scratchy Universal logo at the start, but were subsequently astonished at what we saw onscreen for the movie proper. Slight, unobtrusive film grain is mostly the order of the day, with the spaceship takeoff effects shot being about the only part that looked a little less wonderful. We seriously can’t imagine E.T. looking better – well, unless we could afford a bigger OLED telly!
As for sound, the DTS:X track doesn’t have a huge amount to work with, but gives the odd sound bubble thrill while pumping out John Williams’ classic soundtrack in style. In a nice touch, the original cinematic two-channel audio is also an option.
The package: This one’s a two-disc set, with a commentary-free 4K Ultra HD disc and a Blu-ray. The Blu-ray is the 2012 release, including deleted scenes, a bunch of featurettes, a trailer and more.
Summing up: Another superb 4K transition for a classic movie, the treatment given to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial here really shows off what wonders can be achieved with the format in regards to older movies by applying a little effort. If you love the film then this is a must-buy, as you’ll have never experienced it like this before.
Release date: September 20, 2017
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.