E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 35th Anniversary Gift Set Ultra HD Review

Director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece is one of the brightest stars in motion picture history. Filled with unparalleled magic and imagination, E.T. follows the moving story of a lost little alien who befriends 10-year-old, Elliot.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

87

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 1982
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 115 minutes
Genre: Sci-fi/Drama

Disc Format: BD-66 @ 1000 NITS
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Japanese, DTS 5.1, DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio (Blu-ray)
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese, Mandarin, French, Japanese, Spanish
Starring: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymoore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, C. Thomas Howell, Robert MacNaughton
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Melissa Mathison
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 1, 2017

“The story that touched the world!”



My Take:

I Reviewed E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial when it was originally released on Blu-ray and have included my comments from that review here. The 1080p audio/video will be the same as they are identical to the original release. This special gift set features premium packaging, includes a re-mastered CD soundtrack of the original Grammy Award®-winning album, is packed with over three hours of bonus features and includes a collector’s booklet with behind-the-scenes stories and rare images from the archives. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 35th Anniversary Limited Edition retains all the excitement, drama and warm-hearted humor that made it an instant worldwide classic. New comments and ratings for the new Ultra HD video, DTS:X sound mix and extras are below.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is indeed a classic film that is beloved by fans the world over. I was 18 when it hit theaters and can recall the fervor that surrounded it. It seemed like everyone was not only talking about E.T. back then, but went to the theater multiple times to see it. The effects were state of the art and watching the bond that formed between he and Elliott and how it played out through to the end was not only stirring, but captured the imagination of all who saw it. It is so much more than “science fiction”. It’s a heartwarming and inspirational story of friendship, courage and belief with a timeless appeal that has no generational boundaries.

Watching it today it feels very much the same. The special effects have lost some of their luster but the work that brought E.T. himself to life holds up quite nicely while the drama, sense of adventure and imaginative spirit remain tangible. I love the performances by the ensemble cast, especially Henry Thomas who in my opinion is the reason the film works so well. E.T The Extra-Terrestrial remains one of Steven Spielberg’s definitive achievements. I am thrilled that it has come to Ultra HD Blu-ray, and am happy to report that it has received the tender loving care it is due.

E.T. The Etra-Terrestrial became the biggest blockbuster of the year, ranking #1 over 16 different weekends. Even today, E.T. remains the fourth most successful movie of all-time1 in the United States. Nominated for nine Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Writing and Best Screenplay, the film took home four statuettes for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Sound and Best Music for John Williams’ memorable score.

The set comes housed in a sturdy cardboard slipcover with a lenticular cover featuring the iconic photo of Elliot and E.T. flying over the forest with the moon as a backdrop.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

DTS:X Rating: 84
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS:X/DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.6 Mbps.

For its 30th Anniversary Blu-ray release, Universal remastered E.T. from the original 35mm film elements, and Its presentation in Ultra HD appears to be derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate.

It’s important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like E.T. has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won’t result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn’t a problem and shouldn’t be seen as such.

This period film utilizes a variety of visuals to convey its mood, and thematic tone. The cinematography uses lighting schemes, shadows and low-lit environs, that can often impart a dark visual aesthetic. This is purposeful and comes across in this rendering. Looking at the film’s opening sequence the improvement in depth and definition is noticeable, especially during the nighttime scene in the forest. Later as Elliot and his family sit around the dinner table, the finer details in the objects on the table, as well as the surroundings in the background, are easy to make out.

The wide-angle shots of the sun splashed neighborhood they live in, appear delineated, with plenty of minutia visible in the structures, streets and landscapes. Colors are simply gorgeous. The aforementioned scene in the family kitchen shows off the presentation’s wide color gamut, as the multi-colored tiffany chandelier, red soda cans, and period clothing worn by the cast appears noticeably vivid and rich. The same is true of the plethora of colors found in Elliot’s bedroom.

The application of high dynamic range is on point as well. The opening sequence with the spaceship’s bright lights cutting through the darkened forest, or the flashlights carried by the government workers, are crisp and brilliant. The scene featuring Elliot and E.T. in the woods, when E.T. phones home, while the moonlight cascades through the trees, reflecting off of the leaves and illuminating E.T. and Elliot looks terrific. Shadow detail is improved over the 1080p rendering, although some scenes remain a bit on the murky side. I believe that some of this is innate and even intentional, in an effort to obscure the effects work. Blacks are gradational and deep.

There is some softening, but again this appears to be innate. Resolution in most respects is excellent. At the beginning of chapter 6, while Elliot is holding his flashlight, I noticed some light banding. Later in the same chapter at the 25 minute mark, while the government men search the area, I noticed it again, against the light misty background. During the arrival of the spaceship in the finale I noticed it in the sky as well. Checking the same scenes in the Blu-ray, this wasn’t present. These were the only instances/anomalies that I observed. (* It should be noted that checking these same scenes on the TCL 55P607 UHD flat panel, the banding wasn’t present).

In general, the image, which looked fine overall, made for a noteworthy improvement when compared to the Blu-ray rendering. I believe that what we are seeing, aside from the minor instances of banding, is a faithful rendering of the film’s elements, which when all is said and done, is all we can ask for. The question now becomes, is the Ultra HD version worth considering over the Blu-ray? I would say that if you’re a fan and truly want to own E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in its finest form, the answer is, yes. If you’re satisfied with the Blu-ray version, which is excellent, then you’re good to go.

In listening to the DTS:X surround mix I found it to be of the less aggressive variety, but considering the source material that’s not a complete surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is limited to ambient extension and the occasional discretely placed sound object. This is done to good effect when implemented. The star of the show is John Williams’ spectacular music score, which is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. While this mix doesn’t make constant use of discretely placed audio objects, I found that it complimented the soundtrack in support of the film’s thematic tone.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Blu-ray
  • The E.T. Journals – Retrace the day-to-day experience of creating E.T from behind-the-scenes footage shot by Academy Award®-winning cinematographer John Toll.
  • Steven Spielberg & E.T. – Watch an interview with Steven Spielberg, as he reflects back on the film and discusses his experience working with the actors, as well as his overall and current perspective on E.T.
  • The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams – Interviews and footage focused on the long-standing relationship between John Williams and Steven Spielberg.
  • Designs, Photographs and Marketing of E.T
  • E.T. Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
  • E.T. Designs by Carlo Rambaldi
  • Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie
  • Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
  • Production Photographs
  • Marketing E.T. A Look Back – A special insider’s look into the making of E.T. featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast, and others intimately involved with the film.
  • The E.T. Reunion – The cast and filmmaker reunite to discuss their thoughts on the impact of the film.
  • The 20th Anniversary Premiere – Composer John Williams played the score of E.T. live at the Shrine Auditorium for the re-release premiere of E.T. This featurette gives us a behind the scenes look at this presentation.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
    * NEW Collectible Booklet
    *NEW Remastered Original Motion Picture CD
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a timeless and evocative film that holds a special place not just for those who love it but in American Cinema. I have been a fan for 35 years and looked forward to its arrival on Ultra HD Blu-ray. I am happy to report that the wait was well worth as it looks beautiful. The new DTS:X immersive sound compliments the video and beautifully reproduces John Williams’ memorable music score. The supplemental package is a good one that includes previously released material along with two new collectibles that fans are sure to appreciate. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a wonderful film experience and this 35 Anniversary Ultra HD Blu-ray Gift Set from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment makes it all the better and is a must own. Enjoy!

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems