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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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I have a hard time imagining that the author of ET, Melissa Mathison ( the wife of Harrison Ford, BTW), would allow Spielberg to put such a radical spin on her novel. She did a whole series of books based on the "distinguished biologist" and his interstellar travel, only the one made it to the screen. But it's become a timeless icon. In fact, after all these years, nothing similar has even come close to the original.
 

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It may seem odd to us who grew up with the iconic E.T. but the movie when shown to a young audience today often still elicits some degree of fear.

There was so much external hype for the movie around its original release date; posters, dolls, toys, etc., all with a slant of childhood approachability, that we took this as part of our unconscious internalization of the movie. Show E.T. to a typical 5-6 year old today, with no pre-set context and you might be surprised by their reactions. We tried with our kids and they weren't having any of it…
 
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