E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Blu-ray review

This hi-def platter is so good you'll want to phone home and tell everybody about it

It's a good time to be a home cinema fan with a fondness for the films of Steven Spielberg. First came the long-awaited hi-def debut of Jaws back in September, swiftly followed by the first three Indiana Jones films. And now his heartwarming masterpiece E.T. has also made debut on Blu-ray.

This delightful story of a young boy who befriends an alien stranded on our world is one of those rare family films that works brilliantly for children and adults alike. And best of all, it's presented here in its original form, stripped of all the horrible CG effects added to the unnecessary 20th anniversary edit.

Picture: Universal has really delivered the goods with this Blu-ray release. Framed at 1.85:1 the AVC 1080p encode looks absolutely terrific and authentically cinematic. Grain is present throughout (particularly in the optical effects shots) and appears undisturbed by digital tinkering, blacks are rock solid, and there's a level of clarity that really shows off just how wrinkly and moist Spielberg's loveable little alien really is.

However, it's the way that the hi-def encode handles the film's luscious primary colours and cleanly rendered secondary hues that will really knock your socks off.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: There's a lot to enjoy about the new DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack that graces E.T.'s Blu-ray debut. While the mix mainly stays true to the original sound design, it's not afraid to open the soundfield up a little more with well-rendered positional effects. Examples include a roll of thunder across the rear speakers in Chapter 14 or the sound of the BMX bikes panning seamlessly from the back to the front of the mix as they ride across the top of the police car in Chapter 17. This opening up of the mix is aided immensely by the wonderful delivery of John Williams' legendary score, which frequently employs all seven channels as it swells up around you.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: New to this Blu-ray release are Steven Spielberg & E.T. (a 13-min chat with the filmmaker, reflecting on the movie) and the two-part The E.T. Journals (54-mins of behind-the-scenes footage).

The remaining material has been ported over from previous DVD releases and includes two deleted scenes (presented in HD), A Look Back and The Evolution and Creation of E.T. documentaries, The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams, The E.T. Reunion and The 20th Anniversary Premiere featurettes, six photo/art galleries, the theatrical trailer and a Special Olympics TV Spot featuring Spielberg's little alien.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: It's been a long time coming, but this Blu-ray outing for Spielberg's timeless classic was definitely worth the wait

Universal Pictures, All-region BD, £23 Approx, On sale now