E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is a capturing movie about a little alien named E.T. (Pat Welsh) that imprints on a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). These characters go through interesting adventures with surprises at every turn.
Rob Ager wrote a very interesting analysis of this movie. At one point, he compares E.T. to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Quite interesting.
For this blog, I want to address E.T. specifically. He is such an interesting creature. In my opinion, he is directly related to a mythical character called a phoenix.
One of the identifying characteristics of a phoenix is they are portrayed as either on fire or being a part of flames. Fire equals light. In E.T., there are a lot of great scenes with interesting light. When Elliott first finds E.T., the moon is the light used. And throughout the movie, the director (Steven Spielberg) chooses to use different angles when lighting the set. Such as, in Eliot’s room, the light usually comes through the window instead of from over head.
Also, in a lot of myths, the phoenix is associated with the sun. Obviously, E.T. is from space, and (to point out the obvious) suns are in space. This also goes along with the idea of light.
According to the New World Encyclopedia website, phoenixes were symbolic of society and community. E.T. uses this in multiple ways. The children have a sense of community when the siblings are taking care of E.T. and when the other boys help him escape from the government. Also, E.T.’s species obviously need each other. They traveled to Earth together, and they come back for him in the end.
In Harry Potter, the phoenix Fawkes has many magical powers. He can heal using tears, carry large amounts of weight, and be reborn from flames. All of these characteristics are similar to E.T. He can heal an “ouch” using his finger, cause five boys to fly on bikes, and is reborn after dying according to earth standards.
Obviously what the phoenix is known across a lot of cultures for is rebirth. E.T. dies according to our standards. He doesn’t breathe or have a pulse near the end. Gertie (Drew Barrymore) says, “Is he dead, Mommy?” And Mary (Dee Wallace) says yes. Thus, we, as humans, think he is dead. However, he does come back to life so he can return to his kind.
I think E.T. symbolizes a lot of things. However, the one I am most aware of is a phoenix. I find it fascinating and hope you do to.
See you next week!