Interesting to see Carpenter turn his hand towards comparatively mainstream romantic material and the results are impressive: a conventional 1980s close encounter adventure with a big heart and a grown-up sensibility, helped by a disturbing initial set up that efficiently and powerfully establishes both the personal and political trauma of the alien's arrival. Allen and Bridges are great together.
This is all the more poignant in the post 2001 epoch; economical in its means and rich in its content. The first 5 minutes seem to compare the universal beauty of the cosmos with the meanness of verbal reality. Throughout the story, simple humanity asserts its nobility with economy of language. ''you will have a child, and he will be a teacher, he will be human &will know everything that I know; tell him of me.....
Beautiful to look at. There's also an interesting parallel between the landing of the pilgrims, as Native American culture is subtly referenced throughout, drawing on questions about the invaded and the invaders. The performances are fantastic, and the sly hint at baby ET being the Messiah just gives this movie some longetivity. Watch. Also, I'll never forget KA's face in the last shot.
This was so close to a masterpiece that I could taste it all the way through but it doesn't quite get there. Carpenter forgoes scoring what - in my imagination - would've been the best score of his career in place of one that never really captures the mood well enough. Chances to bring the romanticism into the visuals are passed over at times, but there's also an ethereal beauty running through the core.
An alien with seemingly limitless powers, albeit rather dumb, bets on his extraterrestrial pals, alas not very apt for rescue missions, to be found on the third day. Nothing exceptional in between with the typical police chase full of nonsensical mishaps and the saccharine love affair. Jeff Bridges plays the robotic twit with tedious monotony while Karen Allen tries to explain him where babies come from.
Carpenter's outlier, warm and cuddly with no pure evil in sight. What makes it his is its fondness for the American working class, otherwise used as political subtext for action/horror but here a vision of wall-to-wall warmth, where his comic book fantasies of post-Nixon America yield not a nightmare, but the pleasantest daydream. A film that sincerely, fervently believes in people. Nice use of the Everly Brothers.