From concept to classic

Author: Melissa Mathison
Pocket Books
RRP 15.99
ISBN 0 743 45024 8
Available now

The movie warmed the hearts of millions, its stars (apart from Drew Barrymore and ET who later worked for BT for a while) slipped into obscurity. The world went alien crazy. In the UK it was almost impossible to buy any cereal that didn't have glow-in-the-dark transfers inside them. Now the movie is back, the stars have come together to help re-launch it and Spielberg obviously still wounded by the dire A.I. believes he can win back self-respect by reminding us all that he did once release a two letter movie that wasn't a pile of crap.

As a 30-something I was a prepubescent at the time of E.T.'s release. I saw it three times. I bought the sticker album, the cereals - in fact everything that was E.T. related. I had so many books and collector's edition magazines that I didn't know what to do with them all. I thought I'd seen just about every publicity image available, but I was very wrong.

Pocket Book's ET: From Concept to Classic is one of the freshest illustrated movie tie-in books I have seen for any movie, let alone a retrospective piece. At almost 200 pages of glossy, picture heavy coverage of the E.T. phenomena, this has to be about as comprehensive as it can get.

The book starts with a retrospective introduction by Steven Spielberg then goes on to look at how the movie came to be (looking at script writing, casting and creating a believable creature). The middle section of the book has the full script from the movie but it is not simply a dull reproduction of the actors lines. Instead it is beautifully illustrated with behind the scenes shots and information (did you know that Harrison Ford played the part of Elliot's teacher?).

The final section of the book dips into the merchandise available 20 years ago as well as offering an overview of the release of the 20th Anniversary print of the movie.

Anyone who is an ET enthusiast should buy this. Hell, for £16 everyone should buy this. Pocket Books has produced one of the best illustrated behind the scenes movie books I have ever seen. Out of this World.

Darren Rea

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