I rewatched this last night after I don't know how many years and with all this hindsight I noticed quite a few things I had never realized before. First, what an odd little film. By turns dreamlike, comic, romantic and preposterous, Spielberg is on a high wire here. I've never embraced this film like so many have, even though I was 12 when it was released and was the target audience, but I can appreciate it for the way it's made. Which brings me to the cinematography. I think, shot for shot, this film may have as much fog/smog/smoke as Blade Runner, which famously came out the same year. Nearly every interior daylight shot in the family's house is filled with a glowing haze. It works visually, but if you think about it, it's just silly. Regardless, it's a damn good looking movie, with lots of shots that have become part of the popular consciousness. Did I mention the comic element? It's a lot funnier than I remembered, and I laughed at (among other things) the reveal of how Gertie dressed ET in the closet. While some scenes are practically slapstick, the humor leavens the sentimentality effectively. That sentimentality is what I most often have a problem with in Spielberg's narratives but I'm surprised to say it's not as cloying here as I had recalled. (Although I've never cared for the "drunk Elliot" scene, I found the kiss at the end works remarkably well.) Finally, there's the score. I had my parents buy me the LP as soon as it came out and absorbed it via headphones long before I actually saw the film. I suspect this may be one of the reasons I'm not as big a fan of the movie as some are, because in soaking up that music as it was configured for the album, I internalized an emotional narrative that was similar but different to the one in the film. It's no news to anyone, however, that Williams' score fills this movie with a life it would not otherwise have had. It's brooding, delicate, tender, wondrous, triumphant and inspiring, often carrying the story in the absence of any dialogue. (I fully admit to having no objectivity about this music.) At their best together, Spielberg and Williams create the fabled "pure cinema" of sound + vision. I was more jazzed about seeing Blade Runner and Star Trek II in 1982, and I've watched those two far more times than I have ET, but I find it hard to ignore this movie. It casts a long shadow, as we're currently seeing in the Netflix show Stranger Things.