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Headscratchers: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
E.T.
  • If E.T. is now Star Wars canon, why didn't he have some sort of blaster that he could use to pulverize his pursuers at the start of the movie, thus ending this thing before it could begin?
    • Er, what? E.T. is Star Wars canon?
      • Technically, yes it is. George Lucas put an envoy of ETs in the galactic senate in The Phantom Menace as a joke and a Shout-Out to his old mate Stephen Spielberg. As to why ET didn't have a blaster, his race is clearly quite peaceful and even if they did have blasters, a scientist collecting samples probably wouldn't know how to use one.
      • In E.T.: Book of the Green Planet you see that they really are a race of botanists, and ET is pretty young for his race and still lives with his parent.
    • Better question: Since E.T. is Star Wars canon, what's Elliott doing with Star Wars action figures?
      • That is explainable with the Literary Agent Hypothesis. The events of the Star Wars movies are supposed to be part of a record of events called Journal of the Whills. If we assume that, in the E.T. universe, the Journal of the Whills is real and George Lucas made Star Wars because he read it, the presence of Star Wars action figures makes perfect sense, as does E.T. seemingly recognizing Yoda.
    • ET is Star Wars canon the same way humans are Star Wars canon.
    • Fridge Brilliance: E.T. didn't know it was a kid in a costume and thought it was a legitimate alien. After the events of E.T. happened, the existence of alien life made news. Maybe George Lucas or someone from Lucas Film saw a picture of E.T. and used it as a background character. In their universe the appearance of the aliens is Aluminum Christmas Trees.
  • In the movie E.T., since E.T. can make the bicycle fly at the end, why doesn't he use it to fly in the beginning of the film to avoid pursuit?
    • Because he didn't have a bicycle at the beginning of the film.
    • Maybe it takes concentration that is harder while running (not to mention the mindless fear). Sitting in a basket, on the other hands, doesn't tire one out nearly as much, and by then he was more used to the idea of being chased, leaving him with a clear enough mind to pull it off.
      • The novelization claims his growing psychokinetic powers are a side-effect of the same process that is killing him.
  • Why in the worlds did E.T.'s companions abandon him in the beginning? They appeared to be on a scientific expedition. Some local natives find them and start chasing. The rest of the expedition runs back to the ship, leaving one of their number behind. Wouldn't they have done a head count? Haven't they heard of the buddy system? And if they had no reason to wait five seconds for him to get back aboard, why did they come when he "phoned home"? Bunch of jerks.
    • Robot Chicken covered this nicely. He's a retard and they ditched him on Earth b/c they hate him/they really are a bunch of jerks.
    • Robot Chicken aside, your question assumes E.T.'s companions even care they left him behind. Aliens, after all, are aliens. That means an entirely different culture on top of an entirely different anatomy. Just because humans would be reluctant to leave one of their own behind doesn't mean aliens would feel the same ethical/moral obligation.
      • ET may have signed a release saying "if left behind you have X [ET planet] days to call us or you will be assumed dead or captured."
    • We don't know if earth's scientists have a galactic reputation among aliens - maybe we're the ones doing the "probing".
      • Or maybe we have a reputation for violence. There's no guarantee that the approaching humans won't try to commandeer the spaceship, or start shooting at it and damage something. Maybe they've learned that it's better you leave one of your men behind then leave the highly advanced spaceship in the grubby hands of hairless apes.
    • Eh. The whole "group panics and takes off, not realizing they left someone behind 'til later" is a fairly standard bit, really. Usually done with cars instead of space ships, though.
      • So E.T. is Home Alone 2 with aliens, and Elliot is the homeless pigeon lady?
      • Sadly, they cut the scene where they glued a ton of Reeses Pieces to the scientists and set the aliens on them.
      • This Troper had years of psychological trauma from this damn movie and would like to thank you for crafting a simple sentence that very nearly made him pass out in terror.
      • It would make sense for them to leave behind one to save the rest; maybe a little cold, but who are we to judge? Alternatively, they didn't want their technology to fall into human hands—a bioloical specimen is bad enough—and since humans were converging on their landing site, having their craft captured was a distinct possibility. After taking off, maybe they just took up a temporary position orbiting Mars or something in the hopes that E.T. would find a way to communicate; in fact, given that this is pretty much what I would do, I'm all but convinced that that's what Spielberg et al meant to imply. (Of course, this again runs into the Blue and Orange Morality issue again...)
      • That would make sense from their point of view. The humans were coming and they couldn't risk letting their ship get captured, so they had to leave without E.T. They then parked behind the moon or somewhere else in the solar system to try to figure out what to do now: even if they knew where he was, once E.T. joined up with Elliot, they couldn't risk exposing themselves by landing in the suburbs to pick him up, so it was up to E.T. to contact them and set up a new rendezvous point.
      • If E.T. is an average specimen of the species, it appears that they have VERY fragile psyches and are prone to panic at the slightest loud noise or any evidence of violence whatsoever. It's entirely possible that they all just panicked. It seems also like they waited for him as long as they could and then the humans got too close and then took off.
  • Obviously this would have made for a much shorter and less interesting movie, but a lot of problems could have been avoided if E.T. and the rest of his field trip companions had taken some sort of communication device with them when they left their ship to walk around alone on an alien planet!
    • Why would they need that ? They're telepaths.
      • So why does ET need to phone home, instead of just communicating telepathically?
      • Range. Can you yell loud enough for someone to hear you 30 miles away? It would be pushing it to assume telepathy works that far.
    • I guess he didn't use a telepathic message to say, "Help, I'm being left behind..." while the ship was taking off, though.
      • Maybe he tried, and they heard and didn't want to risk coming back for him (see above).
    • It's odd, but they're doing a survey on a primitive planet and trying to avoid contact with the locals. They might have deliberately left the ship with zero technology so that, if something went wrong, they wouldn't leave behind anything that humans could find and reverse engineer.
      • Then why couldn't they have done their survey somewhere that wasn't a short bike ride from suburbia? There are plenty of potential plant-collecting sites on the planet where there aren't any people for hundreds of miles.
      • Maybe the particular plant they're studying only grows in that area. There's nothing to say they haven't already been to all the remote locales and, for whatever reason, the one plant that can cure diseases, provide unlimited fuel or otherwise revolutionize their science just happens to be in a populated region.
  • How do you threaten anyone with a Walkie-Talkie?
    • Have you ever had a Walkie thrown at you? Those things hurt!
    • A Vogon poet could be on the other end!
  • Seriously, who has ever had to dissect a frog when they're in the fifth grade?
    • Moreover, who has ever had to dissect a still-living frog in the fifth grade? The teacher even mentions that the kids will see the frogs' hearts beating when they cut them open!
      • My teacher tells me that schools really did do that in the past. Probably not in the fifth grade, though.
      • They didn't dissect them alive (quite), they dissected them brain-dead. The teacher would "pith" the specimens (= strike their heads to destroy the brain) before passing them out to the students.
      • No would the kids be responsible for euthanizing the frogs!
  • What happened to the kids after E.T. left? They stole a government van, ran from the law, and disobeyed the feds. Did they get in any trouble at all?
    • Maybe. They are children, after all, and the government knows that at least one was in some sort of psychic link with an extraterrestrial being, so they might assume that its influence was on all the kids. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on how much "research" they'd be willing to do to make sure. A hopeful sign: when they believe ET is dead, "Keys" is discussing what will happen to the family with Mary-mainly a rather short period of quarantine before they go on with their lives. A disturbing sign: the use of guns/walkietalkies during the chase. Take your pick.
  • Why did ET and his ship land so close to human development? California has national parks and things, too!

Escape from New YorkHeadscratchers/FilmEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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