Friday, March 11, 2011

ET stops Empire

Before I can go on about the glory that is having seen Return of the Jedi in the theaters in 1983, it must be explained why it wasn't Empire Strikes Back, that I rave about. The story starts oddly enough with ET. There was always something deeply disturbing about ET. Lets start with how ET is abandoned by his fellow aliens due to them being chased off by some weird government shadow agents. Then we have Elliott out by his garage after dark, when ET decides to start a mutual freaking out session. Imagine being a kid and thinking, next time I'm out after dark I may encounter a freaky alien being chased by government weirdos. It also doesn't help that later there's some kind of mind melding, and befriending of ET only for him to be found nearly or all dead on a river bank. When the government inexplicably figures out you've been harboring an alien they cover your house in some quarantine plastic, and begin to run medical tests on you and your dead alien friend. Then the alien comes back from the dead and leads you on a chase from the shady government guys only leave you behind so he can flee in his ship never to be seen again. Needless to say this lead to months of childhood nightmares. I then perpetually needed the lights left on so ET wouldn't find me. I also would freak out randomly at the beach thinking ET's corpse might be under the surface of the water brushing against my legs while preparing to wash ashore. Needless to say, my phobia was generalized by my parents as not being able to separate films from reality. The reality was that ET failed to use a "science fictiony" world when depicting their alien, and went so far as to have you identify with Elliott, just an ordinary young kid in suburbia; before ensnaring you in a web of totally freaky events that could happen to anyone if they decide to befriend a lost alien. Meanwhile, Star Wars was about adults in a fictional universe mingling with equally fictional aliens. So the night my brothers left to see Empire Strikes Back at the drive in with my father, they left me in a crying fit in  the drive-way. They claimed that I would be too scared to watch ESB because it was filled with aliens scarier than ET. I remember watching them pull out of the driveway laughing and pointing fingers as I cried with disappointment about being left behind.

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