Aftersun – Review

Cast: Frankie Colio, Paul Mescal, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Sally Messham
Directed and Written by Charlotte Wells
Length: 102mins

The 1990’s saw a British invasion of a new kind, with exotic locations such as Malaga and Turkey becoming overrun by package holidays and organised entertainment – foreign enough to be exciting, but without the need to learn any new language. The latter of these two getaways is where ‘Aftersun’ plays out, a story of a youthful father and his wisened daughter, as the two attempt to enjoy a getaway together, which on the surface appears to strengthen their bond and intimacy, but brings with it its fair share of anxieties and uncertainties too.

The recently-recognisable name of Paul Mescal drew a great deal of attention to this film upon its release, and his performance is nothing short of enchanting. However, this isn’t the only great piece of acting which ‘Aftersun’ provides, as 12-year-old Frankie Colio makes her debut as an incredibly talented youngster, with her portrayal of the daughter, Sophie, contributing towards one of the greatest father-daughter relationships shown in any film in recent memory. There’s a clear naturalistic aesthetic which defines much of the story of ‘Aftersun’, and a great deal of this comes as a result of the warmth and humility Colio and Mescal’s characters share with one another. In one scene sharing the sweetness of a summer holiday abroad, and the next, grumpily seeing out the tiredness of exhausted afternoons away from the sun. I don’t feel that I can overstate enough the strength of the performances between this duo, as they provide a huge range of emotions experienced throughout the length of ‘Aftersun’.

First-time director Charlotte Wells – how is this someone’s first film! – utilises a great number of filmic techniques to portray the sticky, commercialised and fond memories of a summer spent abroad in the 90’s. The great soundtrack which reinforces the emotion of many scenes is perfectly selected, with an especially well-placed use of one of Blur’s greatest tracks, ‘Tender’. However, Wells isn’t content to simply include a precisely-timed needle drop, but also experiments with the speed of the track, accentuating Damon Albarn’s intimate vocals even further by slowing the song down as an evening of uncertainty reaches its conclusion. This scene in particular stands as a highlight within a film littered with great moments, and showcases the talents of a filmmaker who may very well become a highly regarded name amongst directors of her generation.

There’s a great deal of ambiguity to ‘Aftersun’s’ narrative – a statement that would seem to contrast the naturalistic dialogue and home-video shooting style. Although never explicitly stated, and without wanting to give too much away, the film is one which sparks a flood of debate over the true story which has been told as you leave the cinema. Small hints and references to anxieties around the characters imply that what is shown is not truly what is being told, and that the enormous emotional imprint this film leaves on your thoughts comes more from what isn’t shown, than what is.

Perhaps my favourite film of 2022, I can’t emphasise enough just how much I fell in love with this story. The beautiful locations, the strange community that comes as a result of package holidays, the incredible performances between Paul Mescal and Frankie Colio. It truly is a must-see film, and a landmark debut film from Charlotte Wells.

Glass Onion – Review

Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr.
Directed and written by Rian Johnson
Length: 139mins

“I told you about strawberry fields, you know the place where nothing is real” calls out John Lennon in the opening of this classic Beatles track, and in a way, much the same could be said for the world in which Rian Johnson’s all-star cast of sycophantic socialites encounter their greatest trouble yet – honesty. Delving once again into the intrigue of a singular Mr. Benoit Blanc’s worldly encounters, the latest case for the man in white comes at the request of his attendance in a who-dunit game of the highest stakes, where the death of billionaire entrepreneur Miles Bron will not only need to be solved, but witnessed too.

A sequel to the Netflix sensation from 2019, the ‘Knives Out’ films as we first got to know them contained their fair share of colourful characters, twisting narratives and comic reliefs. As well as this, perhaps the strongest success from the first film was in its ability to use a classic narrative device of the murder mystery, to explore modern day issues of politics and immigration. Each individual’s treatment of Ana de Armas’s immigrant-descendant Marta Cabrera further unravelled not only pieces of the puzzle, but the ideas in the heads of the American population at the time – exposing servings of both prejudice and goodwill. ‘Glass Onion’ shares a clear theme in much the same way, exploring the impact that technology and its potential power can have on certain individuals, and their use of that influence to manipulate others, but in some ways the stakes don’t feel quite so high in this latest instalment. Perhaps the extremities of the billionaire-funded location make it a little harder to relate to the issues at hand, or Rian Johnson just wanted to be more playful in this new film. Either way, there’s something to be said for the depth of the original ‘Knives Out’, but nothing which should be taken as a reason to like ‘Glass Onion’ any less.

Once again, Daniel Craig is in his element as the extravagant and exemplary Benoit Blanc. The supposedly “greatest detective in the world according to Google,” with a face of stone and a heart of gold, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face as Blanc eyes up every scene, whether having a friendly chat with another oddball individual, or criticising the conspiracy at large. Like the layers of a glass onion, everything seems completely clear once Blanc has drawn attention to each detail.

The story structure of this new film is unlike many others I’ve seen in recent years. Anytime you feel as if you’ve begun to settle into a scene, Rian Johnson throws a whole new set of rules at you, but fortunately soon comes to your aid to explain how the game’s being played. One inexplicable mystery after another, ‘Glass Onion’ is home to its fair share of twists and turns – none of which should be sought after before seeing the film for yourself.

A perfect family watch over the festive period, the film’s release just two days before Christmas was a smart move on Netflix’s part, with the only regret being that it didn’t receive a wider run in cinemas. Wherever you see it, however, the latest trials and tribulations of the esteemed Benoit Blanc are not to be missed.

Banshees of Inisherin – Review

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan
Directed and written by Martin McDonagh
Length: 114mins

Powerhouses of the acting world, Brendon Gleeson and Colin Farrell are at odds once again, with the lines they deliver coming straight from the mind of writer-director Martin McDonagh. Unlike this trilogy’s previous success with the darkly comic excellence of ‘In Bruges’, the historical Belgium cityscape has been exchanged for fictional Irish isle, Inisherin. A timid land off the west coast of Ireland, home to little more than a few hardened drinking holes, and a port necessary for a quick route off the place. Our story begins when Pádraic (Farrell), discovers that longtime drinking buddy Colm no longer wants to knock back pints of Guinness each day at 2pm, for some unknown reason. The fallout from this simple decision results in one of the most intriguing and engaging narratives which has played out on the big screen this year. 

Although Pádraic might pester Colm constantly throughout the film in search of a reason for his abandonment of their friendship, there’s another question put to Colm on multiple occasions throughout this film. On two separate visits to a priest’s confessional booth, after the everyday sins have been accounted for, the question of, “How is the despair?”, is asked. The film never mentions any recent loss or great tragedy in Colm’s life, and yet this inquiry immediately puts a more sympathetic touch to the tinges of the man’s harshness. Suddenly, his unexpected end to a longstanding friendship takes on a new perspective, and Colm turns from a stoic and unkind man, to a victim of some recurring suffering. McDonagh’s manipulation of language has always been an essential part of what makes his filmmaking so entertaining and engaging, and ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ only reinforces these talents. Characters on that damned island seem only to have to lift a finger to change the lives of those around them, and it’s within these small mistakes that the director digs at the roots of a greater tragedy. Although only asked explicitly to Colm in these moments of confession, there’s a despair which hangs over the occupants of all who inhabit Inisherin, and I imagine most would verbally fight back if asked the question in such a director manner – and yet the harshest of them all seems to be the only one who faces the question head on. 

The island’s landscape is visually stunning, and is often called upon to bookmark a particularly impactful or poignant scene. Characters are beckoned to from across expansive lakes, gaze longingly from clifftops, and stare endlessly at the ocean swirling inside a pint glass. However, these moments of sublime natural beauty imply a story which centres on slow-burning scenes and deep-thinking characters. This may be true for some aspects of the film, but the rest is formed of quick-witted dialogue flying to and fro, amongst scenes ranging from the hilarious to the bizarre. Though the island and its inhabitants may experience great periods of bleakness, there’s a great energy running throughout ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, owed in large part to its tightly-woven script and impressively talented cast.

Martin McDonagh delivers a film which ranks equal with the strength of his previous collaboration with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. The film begins from a simple premise, but quickly grows into something far greater – a story not to be missed.

Isle of Dogs – Review

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Bob Balaban, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Akira Takayama
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola and Kunichi Nomura
Length: 101mins

After the ever-lovable success of Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2013, Wes Anderson returned to the stop-motion format back in 2018 with ‘Isle of Dogs’, a tale of one young boy who just wants to get back the pet which was stolen from him – ever-loyal ‘Spots’. In his way, however, lies the vengeful nature of his Uncle, the mayor of the city, who is absolutely more a cat than a dog person.

Wes Anderson’s work has been described time and time again as whimsical, quirky and nostalgic. To say ‘Isle of Dogs’ is any different would be denying the obvious, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the film in any way. The charm of the handcrafted characters, the endearing dialogue which reads like a storybook, as well as the constant feeling of adventure, with anthropomorphised canines and adolescents piloting planes, contribute equally to a story of action, emotion and humour.

With segments from classic Japanese films such as ‘Seven Samurai’ and ‘Drunken Angel’ layered within the score, composer Alexandre Desplat creates a rhythmic soundscape of ritualistic drums and chants which create a constant feeling of motion and intensity within the narrative. The score is utilised to great effect, whether that be in the exaggeration of a corrupt mayor’s malpractice, or to reflect the regular footsteps of Atari and his companions as they summit peaks along Trash Island.

Wes Anderson has been known as divisive director, with some falling head-over-heels for his overdramatised detail and childlike whimsy, whilst others struggle to see the quirks as anything more than irksome. For me, the first description rings true, and although ‘Isle of Dogs’ may not live up to the grander storyline of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ or be as visually spectacular as ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, this is a film which I could return to over and over again, and will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Emily – Review. 

Rating: 15 Cast: Emma Mackey, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Adrian Dunbar and Fionn Whitehead. Directed by Frances O’Connor. Written by Frances O’Connor. Length: 130mins. 

Emily is a loosely biographical drama about the Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte which covers the years leading up to Brontë writing her novel, which is about cruel and haunted characters who play devastating games with love and social status. 

Frqancis O’Connor has made a really impressive debut as a writer and director with this glimpse of Emily Brontë, intelligently played by rising star Emma Mackey. It’s beautifully acted, creatively shot,  and nicely imagined. There were a few unusal moments with the editing, making scene changes a bit clunky and, at moments, questioning if there were technical glitches; but it just seemed to be harsh cuts that were used two or three times throughout. Emily manages to capture the Victorian era with a slight contemporary feel. Not modern in that post-Bridgerton sense, instead, the movie feels modern in the way it imagines Brontë’s reclusive nature and emotional swings with consideration towards trauma, depression and other possible mental health issues that we have the language for and understanding of today. The characters in the film can’t diagnose these things, but a contemporary audience will spot the signs that O’Connor subtly layers into the role, allowing it’s audience to be aware, but not let the issues detract from the progression of the story. 

 Mackey’s portrayal, excellent as it is, may be smoother around the edges and less windblown than the real thing but that’s not really a surprise, her skill seems to be so layered and each role, including this gritty, emotional period character, shows audiences her depth as a performer and I can’t wait to continue to watch her career grow. Adrian Dunbar, unsurprisingly, presents a solid character in Patrick Bronte, leaving his audiences searching for the moments of warmth and approval that the leading character spends so much of the film seeking as well. His performance allows the audience to empathise even more with the lead, which is a very generous trait for an supporting actor and also suggests deliberate and strong direction. 

While technically I think this was a good film with strong performances, and a really strong debut for O’Connor it did lack something. It’s visually quite dark, which although sounds like a small thing, it makes it a little more difficult to engage and stay focussed throughout. Some of this of course will be due to the time period and the miserable weather but it still has an impact on the audience. Personally I found it quite tricky to really invest in what was in front of us, Mackey’s Bronte isn’t particularly likeable and neither is Weightman – actually, none of the characters are very likeable with possibly the exception of Branwell, but even then it’s not an overwhelming likeability.  For me to truly enjoy a film I need to back characters to some degree and if you aren’t drawn to anything about anyone it makes the viewing experience a tricky one. My rating is purely for that reason, it’s a good film – just not for me.  

Don’t Worry, Darling – Review

Cast: Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan and Kiki Layne
Directed by Olivia Wilde
Written by Katie Silberman, Shane Van Dyke and Carey Van Dyke
Length: 123mins

An intriguing tale of an unsettlingly pleasant American utopia, an all-star cast featuring some of the biggest names in todays film and music industry, as well as a story chock full of references to great cinematic landmarks which came before – Olivia Wilde’s latest feature sets out to be an extremely promising trip to the cinema. However, audiences have experienced many different reactions to the film, and though the consensus seems to be that ‘Dont Worry, Darling’ is far from as strong a film as the director’s 2019 debut, ‘Booksmart’, there’s still a great deal to discuss.

Aside from the ambitious storyline and the twisting narrative, the first thing most audiences seem to have highlighted after stepping from the darkness of the big screen and back into daylight, is Florence Pugh. Her leading role as Alice, the doting housewife to a charming, yet traditional husband, is undeniably the film’s greatest strength. Her performance maintains a great energy and passion throughout, which is perfectly reigned in for moments for tenderness and shock. The film often acts as a test of her characters’ stability, and Florence Pugh walks this line with the grace of a ballet dancer. Harry Styles takes up the role of Jack, the aforementioned 1950’s all-American husband, despite his British origins. In truth, it would be difficult for any performer to match the talents of Pugh as their co-star, but rather than the strength of the couple together elevating the inexperience of Styles, it seems to only highlight the issue in greater detail. As charming as he may be, there’s definitely a little clunk to his movements and delivery which may smoothen out in the years to come.

‘Don’t Worry, Darling’ is a beautiful film to watch. The American suburbia which filmmakers seem to love to corrupt, remains as entrancing, yet unsettling, as ever. A repeated reference to Ridley Scott’s ‘Thelma and Louise’, pays homage to one of the greatest female-led films released, but can quickly draw the audience into making comparisons between the two, which often seems to work against ‘Don’t Worry, Darling’s’ favour. Despite this, as simply a film to take in visually, whilst you recline into the comfort of your cinema seat, there’s a great deal to love here. The sets are intriguingly detailed, the cameras capture everything with a rich warmth, and moments of unexpected thrill wash over you in captivating bursts.

In terms of story, the film sadly seems to fall completely at its own squeakily-polished feet. The first ten minutes sets up what could evolve into a captivating narrative, but very quickly begins to meander into a dull repetitiveness, only to suddenly throw everything it seems to have forgotten to mention at the audience in the final half an hour. There are moments which absolutely need to be seen to be believed, but so much potential is wasted on unmotivated actions and inexplicable storylines. Amongst the ever-confusing actions of some characters, as well as the equally unengaging plot devices which seem to pop up only to further bamboozle audiences, there may be hidden a great film, but sadly ‘Don’t Worry, Darling’ most likely won’t be remembered as one.

The Lost King – Review. 

Rating: 12A Cast: Sally Hawkins, Steve Coogan, Harry Lloyd, Mark Addy and James Fleet. Directed by Stephen Frears. Written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. Length: 108mins.

In The Lost King, Sally Hawkins’s plays amateur historian-sleuth Philippa Langley who gets to butt heads with the archaeological establishment as she pursues her dream to find the mortal remains of King Richard III, as story well known to many and not too long ago… 

When Philippa reads a biography of Richard III that highlights the disconnect between his reputation and his “true” self, she resolves to set the record straight. So, after a couple of pub meetings with fellow Richard III fans, she’s banging on the doors of the establishment, seeking funding to dig up Richard’s bones, which she has become convinced lie under a car park in Leicester. 

The Lost King is an okay film – its plot is its focus and while based on true events it’s really about shining the light on a part of British history, and more importantly brings attention to Phillipa Langley and what she achieved while others took (partial) credit for her work. 

It lacks interesting characters which is fine due to the ‘point’ of the film, but I felt like the film makers were aware of this and pushed a bit too hard on some of the choices around the character of Phillipa. Obviously, I don’t know her – I hadn’t actually heard of her until watching this film, so I may be wrong, but it felt like the focal character was a woman who struggled with ME, had perhaps not been taken too seriously throughout her life but had the grit and determination to research and fight for her ultimate goals trusting her gut instinct, even when no one else was interested. While elements of this came across, the character of Phillipa was painted in a very feeble way. She came across as a bit weak, naive and the choice to include an imaginary King Richard who appears at various points throughout the film suggested mental illness to some degree, and yet this was never addressed and so I can only assume that this was a creative choice to try to add an extra ‘something’ to the film. It didn’t work in my opinion, it distracted from Phillipa’s hard work, made it a little cartoonish and didn’t really serve a purpose. 

The Lost King is filled with a top billed cast and I can’t fault the work that they did, unfortunately what didn’t work seemed to filter down from creative choices which is a shame because the target audience for a film like this would, in my opinion, have been equally happy with a basic telling of the story without embellishments or imaginary Kings. 

It’s important to recognise that with all retellings, or ‘dramatisations’ of true events there are always two sides to a story and one side will often be painted as the villain while the other a hero. As far as I can tell, real life Langley has said that she was indeed “sidelined and marginalised” by the academics, but representatives of the University have accused The Lost King of creating “an artificial narrative of a sexist, male-dominated university [by] removing all the key female academic leads”, with real life Buckley also complaining that “there is no truth to our department being under threat of closure or my job being on the line” and describes these plot points as “just nonsense”. I think the characters probably need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but focus should be on the telling of Ms Langley’s story and the incredible discovery that was made because of it.  

The Lost King is an easy and relatively interesting watch with small splashes of humour throughout. It’s not going to impact anyones life in a big way but is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, if you enjoy a true story without high drama then this is probably for you.  

Moonage Daydream – Review

Rating: 15
Featuring: David Bowie, Iman, Mick Ronson, Lou Reed, Brian Eno
Directed by Brett Morgen
Length: 135mins

The Earth’s favourite spaceman, David Bowie is perhaps one of the most untouchable prophets of the twenty-first century. The incredible output of music, performance and all-round allure which surrounded this man for nearly fifty years remains a feat of charisma which I would be hard-pressed to find comparisons with. Musically, Bowie remains an inspiration for all musicians alike, dancing from funk to punk, ambient to electronic, then back to glam rock, with a slender finger seemingly always resting upon the pulse of what the musical world needed most. Now, just over five years since his death, ‘Moonage Daydream’ seeks to relive the adventures of this singular man, with a documentary as ambitious as its subject.

The film sets out to divide the many apparitions of Bowie by decade, painting a vivid picture through sound and vision of the achievements and experiences which defined every ten years of the artists’ life. What makes for a fascinating seventies era, with the rise of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane captivating young crowds, as well as the later experimental tours of Station to Stations’ ‘The Thin White Duke,’ and Brian Eno and Tony Visconti’s incredible contributions to the music throughout the Berlin trilogy, can ultimately make the rest of the film feel as if it’s trying to summit these same peaks which formed early within Bowie’s career. Whilst there’s nothing wrong in exploring avenues of the artist’s life which stray from his musical output in later years, the film attempts to fill up these other eras with anything and everything that the man got up to, and as a result can often feel as if the narrative has lost its way amongst vaguely-strung narration and repetitive visuals. 

Perhaps the greatest thing to come from ‘Moonage Daydream’s release is the gloriously remastered visuals from throughout Bowie’s expansive career, as well as the opportunity to hear his equally expansive recordings through a cinema-sized sound system. What the film lacks in a consistency to its experimental take on a life well lived, it makes up for in its specific sequences. The early uprising of Bowie and his band at the beginning of the 1970’s, as well as his later explorations across various continents, from the beaten streets of Europe’s Berlin to Asia’s Singapore, are shown in compassionate detail, capturing the exact emotions we can only estimate that Bowie was feeling at the time, in a way which perhaps only film can truly achieve.

There’s a great film somewhere within the extravagances and meanderings of ‘Moonage Daydream’. Hidden amongst the short and equally vague voiceovers is a story of a tormented artist who took the world for his own through music, fashion, art, film and everything in between. And for the moment, the best way to have a look for yourself is to take a seat at the cinema, and let this ambitious piece of filmmaking wash over you for a few fantastical hours.

Ticket to Paradise – Review. 

Rating: 12A                                                                                                                                                       Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kaitlyn Dever, Maxime Bouttier and Billie Lourde.                     Directed by Ol Parker.                                                                                                                             Written by Ol Parker and Daniel Pipski.                                                                          Length: 104mins. 

Ticket to Paradise is a contemporary romantic comedy that see’s Georgia (Roberts) and David (Clooney) as bitter ex’s, thrown together again when they find out that their daughter has fallen in love in Bali on her post-graduation trip, and decided to get married to a local seaweed farmer instead of return to the US to become a lawyer.  

We are given a solid understanding of the unhappy split between our two movie parents early on in the film, as well as a glimpse at the strain it’s put on their daughter (Dever). They do a good job at not rushing into the main story – it’s a fairly run of the mill rom com in that we can see from the trailer, possibly even the poster, the main events, but I found the backstory/ run up to the engagement actually really helpful in moving this film out of ‘just a cheesy rom com’ and into a genuinely amusing story with real people type characters rather than just archetypes. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of clichés and a couple of exaugurated, cartoonish characters but that’s not the attention pulling factor.  

Obviously, the main draw of this film is it’s cast. George Clooney and Julia Roberts are amazing. While not the deepest script or characters to dig into they approach their roles with all of their experience and it shows. The comic timing and commitment is just at the right level and I can only imagine being another actor on that set and just watching the masterclass unfold. 

Parker’s script, co-written with Daniel Pipski, is more sentimental than it is humorous. It’s rooted in a parent’s fear that their children are such perfect remakes of themselves that they’re bound to repeat the same mistakes, which again, adds layers to this lovely, picturesque world and avoids the laziness of ‘easy’ rom com writing. Although more sentimental, the humour is definitely there, more in the language that the more slapstick moments like the vicious dolphin attack…but there’s enough in there to keep things light.  

All in all it’s just a solid film for its genre. I know some people will think it’s weak if they don’t particularly enjoy romantic comedies but to look at it within it’s genre, I think it’s really quite strong. It feels like it’s a movie that Ol Parker wanted to make, the care in the details makes it more in line with the era of solid romantic comedies, rather than the more cheesey ‘Hallmark’ type films we see much more regularly today.  

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Review

Cast: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Robert MacNaughton, Peter Cyote and Dee Wallace
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Melissa Mathison
Length: 115mins

Back in 1981, E.T. may have perhaps been considered among Steven Spielberg’s crowning achievements. The director was thirty five at the time of its release, but already had an impressive back-catalogue containing ‘Jaws’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and the first Indiana Jones film to boast. However, ‘E.T.’ showed for the first time a true understanding of childlike wonder which would later define much of Spielberg’s work. The doe-eyed expression displayed by Elliott throughout most of the film, as he gazes with a mix of wonder and fear at the possibility of a new friend who he’s discovered, but one that looks different enough to warrant a degree of uncertainty, is how so many of us would have seen the world at that age, and tenderly pulls the audience back towards their childhood, whether they were born in the eighties or any other era. That’s why, fourty years on, Spielberg’s filmmaking has the ability to draw in viewers with equal captivity, as they lose themselves in this fantastical tale once again.

Known for his striking visuals and symbolic compositions within films, Spielberg remains on top form throughout ‘E.T.’. Moments of uncertainty are quite literally shrouded in fog, whilst the threat of an unknown government agency, set to steal Elliott’s friend away from him appears as anonymous and sinister, as each shot with adults shown spends the entire scene ensuring that they’re hardly present. There’s a huge emphasis on a childlike perspective on events, and by telling a story through a symbolic approach to visuals, rather than simply just how they play out, the film develops an added layer of complexity to what could be a light-hearted and fairly simple tale, much like ‘The Goonies’ a few years later. (Not to say ‘The Goonies’ could ever be improved in any way, that film is perfect exactly as it comes.)

Although the edges around E.T.’s prosthetic complexion may now show up as a little more unbelievable than viewers might have taken the time to notice back in 1981, and the visual effects may leave a great deal to the imagination, it’s the motivation behind these moments which matter more than the actual visuals themselves. To see a gang of biker kids having their wheels lifted from the ground appears so exciting to the audience because they understand the joy that such a moment would have inspired in them at that age, rather than being brought down by any slightly dated effects. 

‘E.T. the Extra Terrestrial’ was a massive hit upon its release in the early eighties, and has clearly had a great impact on popular culture, with TV shows like ‘Stranger Things’ in recent years taking so much inspiration from the film that Spielberg probably deserves a writing credit. Whilst a modern viewer might write it off simply as another dated nostalgia-fest, there’s a great deal more to enjoy about ‘E.T.’ than you may first think, and to go back to the cinema and see it all play out on the big screen is something absolutely worth enjoying.