Monday, November 23, 2009

In Depth Analysis: E.T. - Part One

I'm going to try something a little different for the next month or so. I want to do an in-depth analysis of the story structure, characters and scene work of one movie. In each post I'll analyze how that movie uses one or two of the techniques I've covered in this blog.

The movie I've chosen for this purpose is E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial written by Melissa Mathison.

I picked this particular movie for several reasons. First, I wanted a movie that was popular but also creatively respected. Second, I wanted a movie that succeeded at least in part because of its writing (not in spite of its writing). And I wanted an original screenplay as opposed to something based on pre-existing material. Plus, E.T. has stood the test of's still popular twenty-seven years after its release. The one downside is it's not a particularly recent movie, but I think its enduring popularity makes up for that.

I'm not going to start the analysis yet to give you a chance to watch the movie again if you like (I suspect most of my readers have probably seen it, but if you haven't here's a great excuse). I'll just note some of the facts about the movie: E.T. is a family film with light adventure and sci-fi elements. It was released in 1982 and grossed almost $350 million in its first run. It was nominated for a best screenplay Academy Award. And (as you may know) it was directed by Steven Spielberg.

(Please note: I'll analyze the original theatrical release version, not the revised cut re-released in 2002...though I might mention some of the differences in terms of the effect of editing decisions and the original script.)

Next week I'll begin the analysis with a break down of E.T.'s three-act structure. If this goes well I'll do it every few months with a different movie, trying to cross genres and types. So let me know if you like it!

1 comment:

Atul said...

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watch miss congeniality movie
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