News Article

The Corrections

Does E.T. now phone home on a cellular, leaving pal Elliott withmassive roaming charges? Not quite, but viewers who know E.T. TheExtra-Terrestrial by bright, flashing heart will notice that somesubtle changes have been made in the new, 20th-anniversaryedition. -- SD

WHAT'S ADDED? A total of two and a half minutes of footage. Backin 1981, Steven Spielberg shot two minutes of E.T. and Elliottplaying in the bathroom (above), but scrapped it sincepuppeteering limitations left the scene looking fake. Saysvisual-effects supervisor Bill George, who helped fix theproblem, ''I never saw the [original] footage...[but] I heardthat when he came out [of the tub], water was squirting out ofevery pore in his face.'' Now the scene's back in with anonporous, computer-generated E.T. replacing the polyurethaneone in most shots. A shorter restored scene shows Elliott's mom,Mary, searching for him on Halloween. Don't blink or you'll missthe kid in a Richard Nixon mask.

WHAT'S UPGRADED? The sound's remastered. Shots in which themechanical E.T. seemed wobbly or inexpressive have been replacedwith a more articulated digital version (sometimes the wholebody's new, sometimes just the head or eyes). You may noticeprominent fixes as E.T. runs through the forest (he lopes like agorilla instead of sliding like a car on a track), has ascreaming jag in Elliott's room, and guzzles beer in the kitchen.The spaceship looks shinier, too, and parts of the flying-bicyclescenes were reshot with actor doubles supplanting teenyfigurines.

WHAT'S OUT? Spielberg says becoming a father in the mid-'80s lefthim ''bothered'' that he showed feds chasing Elliott with gunsdrawn. Through computer trickery, pistols have been replaced withwalkie-talkies, and one close-up of a shotgun has been removed,along with the line ''No guns -- they're children!'' Also, in theoriginal, Mary yells at son Michael that he's not allowed out onHalloween dressed like a ''terrorist.'' In the new version, he'snot allowed out like a ''hippie.'' Says screenwriter MelissaMathison, who wasn't involved in the change: ''That doesn't makesense. The mom is a hippie, for God's sake.'' Purists can relax:Spielberg says the DVD release will include both the old and newcuts of the film.

TIME CAPSULE MARCH 25, 1982

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TIME CAPSULE MARCH 25, 1982

AT THE MOVIES, future Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall's(right) vampy vixen rep is born howling in Porky's. IN MUSIC,Joan Jett & the Blackhearts can afford to put a couple milliondimes in the jukebox, baby, as ''I Love Rock 'n' Roll'' hits No. 1on the Billboard chart. in BOOKSTORES, Shel Silverstein's ALight in the Attic blazes near the top of the Publishers Weeklybest-seller list. AND IN THE NEWS, the fledgling space shuttleprogram gets a boost as NASA monitors the Columbia's currentcosmic voyage while announcing plans for a space station calledSpacelab.

Originally posted Mar 22, 2002