Carlo Rambaldi passed away in the southern Italian city of Lemezia Terme on Friday (10Aug12) after a long illness.
Rambaldi won a special achievement Oscar in 1977 for his work on the 1976 version of King Kong, and he later went on to win the Visual Effects Academy Award twice - for Sir Ridley Scott's Alien and Steven Spielberg's E.T.
He designed the title character of the popular children's film, and director Spielberg has paid tribute to his former co-worker, declaring, "Carlo Rambaldi was E.T.'s (puppetmaster) Geppetto."
Jeffrey Okun, the chair of the Visual Effects Society, has also added his own tribute, branding Rambaldi's talent "immense".
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, he says, "While I never met Mr. Rambaldi, I know I speak for the entire Society when I say that the lifelike breakthrough puppeted alien he created for ET significantly raised the bar for all creatures, including what would become CG created creatures.
"His ability to inject emotion into plastic and metal still stands as a monument to what is possible... His talent was immense and he will be missed, but his legacy and challenge will live on."
Just shy of 30 years ago, the world saw one of the most awe-inspiring family films that has ever been released on the big screen: E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, one of Steven Spielberg's most cherished masterpieces. And now, the monumentally beloved science fiction classic will be available on Blu-ray!
Starring a young Henry Thomas, a younger Drew Barrymore, and a not-particularly-young Dee Wallace, E.T. captured Spielberg's love affair with the the spirit of childhood, with the otherworldly themes that have imbued so many of his works with unparalleled originality and imagination.
Check out the Blu-ray trailer and the special features below, and stock up on Reese's Pieces ready: E.T. comes out on Blu-ray/DVD in October.
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial Blu-ray Bonus Features
- The E.T. Journals: In this all-new bonus feature, retrace the day-to-day experience of creating E.T from never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage shot by Academy Award®-winning cinematographer John Toll. This piece will give viewers a unique feeling of being on the set and living the excitement of what it was like to make E.T.
- Steven Spielberg & E.T.: Watch an all-new interview with Steven Spielberg, as he reflects back on the film and discusses his experience working with the actors, as well as his overall and current perspective on E.T.
- Deleted Scenes: Two scenes from 2002 version of the film.
- A Look Back: A special insider’s look into the making of E.T. featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast, and others intimately involved with the film.
- The E.T. Reunion: The cast and filmmaker reunite to discuss their thoughts on the impact of the film.
- The Evolution and Creation of E.T.: From idea to screenplay, through casting and making the film.
- The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams: Interviews and footage focused on the long-standing relationship between John Williams and Steven Spielberg.- The 20th Anniversary Premiere: Composer John Williams played the score of E.T. live at the Shrine Auditorium for the re-release premiere of E.T. This featurette gives us a behind the scenes look at this presentation.
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Special Olympics TV spot
- Designs, Photographs and Marketing
- E.T. Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
- E.T. Designs by Carlo Rambaldi
- Spaceship Designs by Ralph McQuarrie
- Designs by Production Illustrator Ed Verreaux
- Production Photographs
- Marketing E.T.
- UltraViolet™: The revolutionary new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows, store them in the cloud, and instantly stream and download to computers, tablets and smartphones. Consumers can now truly enjoy their movies anytime, anywhere on the platform of their choice. Currently available in the United States only.
- Digital Copy: The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a digital copy of the film compatible with iTunes®, iPad®, iPhone®, iPod™, iPod™ touch, Android or online retail partners.
- pocket BLU™ App: The popular free pocket BLU™ app for smartphones is now even better with newly updated versions for iPad®, Android™ tablets, PC and Macintosh computers, with features made especially to take advantage of thedevices’ larger screens and high resolution displays.
- Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
- Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.
- Mobile-to-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
- Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
- Keyboard: Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.
- BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to access the latest trailers, exclusive content and more!
E.T.: The Extra Terrestiral DVD Bonus Features
- Steven Spielberg & E.T.
- Deleted Scenes
- A Look Back
- The E.T. Reunion
Jaws on Blu-ray: Please, Steven Spielberg, Do a Commentary
Drew Barrymore Wants to Make an E.T. Prequel: Late Last Night
E.T. Writer Will Bring Roald Dahl's Masterpiece The BFG to the Screen
When Alien was released almost a quarter of a century ago moviegoers lapped it up to the tune of $78.9 million--enough to make it the second highest grossing film of that year. Renowned film critic Pauline Kael who wrote about the Alien phenomenon in The New Yorker noted: "It was more gripping than entertaining but a lot of people didn't mind. They thought it was terrific because at least they'd felt something; they'd been brutalized." Now in an era utterly saturated with the genre the film still assaults audiences on a level that has yet to be matched. The story in Alien: The Director's Cut remains the same: seven crewmembers of the commercial ship Nostromo are awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate an S.O.S. distress call from an alien vessel. Unbeknownst to crew the distress call is actually a warning. When three crewmembers leave to investigate the abandoned ship they unsuspectingly allow an alien life to board the Nostromo a galactic horror that begins to kill the crew one by one--leaving only one exceptionally tough woman.
Ellen Ripley (a very young Sigourney Weaver) who leads the fight for survival against the alien has to date returned for three sequels: James Cameron's 1986 Aliens which earned Weaver an Oscar nomination for Best Actress David Fincher's 1992 Alien3 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 1997 Alien Resurrection. For fans who have followed Ripley's evolution from a by-the-book crewmember to a hybrid half-alien half-human clone it's exciting to revisit the roots of her character and understand what fuels her revenge. The rest of the ensemble including Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas Veronica Cartwright as Lambert Harry Dean Stanton as Brett John Hurt as Kane Ian Holm as Ash and Yaphet Kotto as Parker seems just as appropriately cast today as it probably did then and even 25 years later the crew of the Nostromo doesn't look like a '70s interpretation of futuristic space workers.
To revisit the set of Alien's Nostromo director Ridley Scott (Matchstick Men) and his team of archivists sifted through hundreds of boxes of film footage discovered in a London vault. From this material unseen in almost 25 years Scott selected new footage which then underwent digital restoration matching it to Alien's newly polished negative. The result is six minutes of additional footage which goes to show how little improving the original film needed. The most palpable addition is a scene in which Ripley stumbles upon "the nest " where she discovers that her crewmates have been cocooned by the alien. But the rest of Scott's additional footage is so subtle that even diehard Alien fans will have a difficult time pinpointing the new material which consists mainly of new shots of the slimy and metallic alien. The Director's Cut also features a brand-new six-track digital stereo mix which strengthens the film's slow but intense cadence with its pulsating beats. But remastered or not the film remains as gripping today as it was when it was first released in 1979.
Even if the some of the images are redone the story remains true to form--and fits surprisingly well in this savvy 21st century. As it goes an alien botanist visiting Earth to collect some vegetation gets stranded when his space friends have to make a hasty exit before getting caught by the big bad American scientists lead by "Keys" (Peter Coyote known as such because of the keys jangling from his belt). E.T. ends up befriending an 11-year-old boy Elliot (Henry Thomas) and his siblings older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and little sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) and discovers such earthly pleasures as beer TV and Reese's Pieces. Yet as much fun as he's having all E.T. really wants to do is go home and soon it becomes a matter of life or death for the little alien to get there as quickly as he can. Elliot who has now bonded with his new friend tries as hard as he can to help E.T. get home before its too late--and before Keys and his group get hold of him.
Seeing the young actors on the big screen again especially Thomas and Barrymore and knowing how they've grown up makes the film that much more fun to watch. When the film came out in 1982 Thomas was a true find. His Elliot was full of energy and had a fresh unassuming quality which inspired many young actors after him (i.e. Haley Joel Osment). Interestingly in his adult career Thomas has laid low with subdued roles in such fare as the HBO movie Indictment: The McMartin Trial. Although he is a talented indie actor he has veered away from that excitable little boy we remember. Of course we all know how Ms. Barrymore turned out becoming one of Hollywood's leading actresses--but as Gertie Barrymore was unbelievably adorable with just a hint of how precocious she actually was. The rest of the cast did their jobs just as admirably especially Dee Wallace Stone as Elliot's mom who as a single mom wounded by a divorce still managed to make dinner wipe tears and understand how her son could become attached to an alien.
Why mess with a classic? Well if you're a perfectionist like director Steven Spielberg you want to make the 20th anniversary of one of your most beloved films to be the best that it can be. Honestly when watching the film again it's hard to pinpoint where the changes were made since they blend seamlessly with the rest of the film. Apparently 140 shots were reworked E.T. got a more friendly makeover and a few never-before-seen scenes were added in (like the great scene where E.T. falls into a bathtub of water). True E.T. looks even more lifelike and you can tell the spaceship had a few more bells and whistles on it but it doesn't really matter. The film is a pure gem proving once again what an incredible visionary Spielberg truly is.