For New E.T. Blu-ray, Spielberg Is Sticking to His Guns

Slate's Culture Blog
May 30 2012 2:31 PM

“I’ll Be Right Here”: The Original E.T. Is Back

ETBluRayTrailer_still
The guns are back in the new trailer for the anniversary Blu-Ray of E.T.

Still from the trailer for the new anniversary Blu-ray of E.T.

As far as purists are concerned, the folks at Universal buried the lede in the announcement of their new anniversary edition of E.T. Hidden between all the selling points advertised in the Blu-ray trailer below, you’ll catch something special in the footage about 25 seconds in: The guns are back.

Of course, this return to E.T.’s original form is not unheralded, but it’s a relief to see with our own eyes that Spielberg has kept his word and stuck to his guns. Spielberg made headlines last fall when he admitted that he regretted the change to the 2002 20th anniversary rerelease, in which the guns toted by government officers dressed in black were replaced by kiddie-friendly walkie-talkies. The blog All Things Fangirl was at the Raiders of the Lost Ark anniversary screening when Spielberg admitted the mistake:

I realized that what I had done was I had robbed the people who loved ET of their memories of ET. And I regretted that. (Massive applause.) … I'd like to ask you this, let's do a little poll here, cause I know we're coming out with the blu-ray of ET, if I just came out with one ET on blu-ray, 1982, would anyone object to that? (Loud “No” from the audience) Okay then, so be it. (Huge applause.)
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What about the other changes? That infamous 2002 rerelease also removed a line in which an angry Elliott called his brother “penis breath,” and redubbed another line in which Elliott’s mother told him he couldn’t go out “dressed like a terrorist.” (She tells him he couldn’t go out “dressed like a hippie,” of which screenwriter Melissa Mathison complained, ''That doesn't make sense. The mom is a hippie, for God's sake.'') Other scenes included a CGI E.T. rather than the original physical puppet. Spielberg has wielded the magic touch to restore those scenes as well.  Detailing the deleted scenes that will be part of the disc’s extras, the press release notes that they include two scenes from the 2002 version, and a publicist for the release confirmed to me in an email: “It's the original 1982 version of the film intact.”

Of course, this news also gives hope for the original version of a certain other beloved saga. It’s the kind of thing that could make your heart glow.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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