YMMV / E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

From the film:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some posit that ET is mentally deficient for his race. Robot Chicken being one of the better known examples of this.
  • Award Snub: It was nominated for the Best Picture and Director Oscars, but lost both to Richard Attenborough's Gandhi. Attenborough even stated in his acceptance speech that he believed E.T. should have won, since it was truly the better film. This was at least partly due to a rather sleazy Oscar campaign by Columbia Pictures, where they more or less stated that a vote against the film was a vote against Gandhi himself.
  • Awesome Music: John Williams' epic score.
  • Contested Sequel: The novel E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Drew Barrymore gets a lot of attention for her role as Gertie.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Elliot's family has an Atari 2600 on top of their TV in several shots, and it's implied the kids play Atari games. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was one of the games responsible for The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and put a severe early dent in the E.T. name.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: There's a picture of Michael Jackson with E.T. and he narrated an E.T. Storybook Record. In real life, Michael Jackson's skin turned from brown to white and he looked rather sickly before he died, just like E.T. towards the end of the film.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation: "E.T. phone home."
    • "I'll...be...right...here."
    • The iconic image of the silhouetted bicycle flying in front of the full moon had been spoofed to there and back.
  • Narm: The scientists showing up at Elliot's home in full-on NASA spacesuits. Presumably done so the audience knows to associate the scientists with a space program, but it doesn't change the fact it's entirely nonsensical.
    • Elliott screaming over and over when he sees E.T. in the cornfield. The fact that each scream is shown from a different camera angle adds to the effect.
  • Narm Charm: Elliott's "I love you" speech right before E.T. gets better may fall into Tastes Like Diabetes, but it's still guaranteed to get you crying.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • When the scientists show up at Elliot's home in environmental suits. The whistles of the train set in the background don't help.
    • E.T.'s appearance may be unsettling for younger viewers, even more so when he's dying.
    • The whole first fifteen minutes or so of the movie are pretty scary, from when the scientists show up at the spacecraft's landing spot to when Elliott explores the backyard and sees ET for the first time and both scream.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Drew Barrymore is Elliott's little sister. She has had the exact same face for over 20 years.
    • Erika Eleniak, who would later be known as Shauni in Baywatch, in the role of Elliott's classmate on whom he has a crush. Also a case of Dawson Casting - a 13 year old girl playing a classmate of a 10 year old boy?! Yeah, right!
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The red light on a rail in the opening sequence. Its replacement is about the only thing you won't hear people complain about in the re-release.
    • A mild example on the blu-ray The movie looks great but in some wide shots, like when Elliot introduces E.T. to Michael, you can tell it's a guy in a costume. It's apparent because in the next shot it's the expressive E.T. puppet, and the costume has a mask with a blank stare.
  • The Woobie: Both Elliott and E.T.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: A response generated by the edits for the 2002 20th Anniversary edition, which included replacing guns with walkie-talkies and changing "terrorist" to "hippie." Mercilessly lampooned in the South Park parody episode "Free Hat." Incidentally, while said episode portrays Steven Spielberg as the diabolical mastermind behind editing Raiders of the Lost Ark, with George Lucas only reluctantly following, in Real Life Spielberg later stated that editing the movie was a mistake and restored the original version for the Blu Ray release.
  • Ugly Cute: ET himself. Any description of him sounds hideous, but he's obviously not without his charm.
  • Values Dissonance: In 1982, a teenager going trick-or-treating as a terrorist would've been stupid and offensive. Post-9/11, it'll more than likely get you arrested.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: With the exception of the light rail example, the special effects still hold up nicely over thirty years later.

From the video game:

  • Critical Backlash
  • Misblamed: For the video game crash of 1982 and subsequent closing of Atari Inc. While certainly a contributing factor, it was not the reason. It had more to do with a bloated market of far more hackneyed games licensed from every conceivable copyrighted property.
  • Killer App: Inverted. The poor reception of this game, along with others, served to turn people away from the Atari 2600 as well as all other video game consoles for a few years.
  • Never Live It Down: Atari's Christmas Rush for the E.T. game soiled their name to the point where it eventually became impossible for them to fully recover their reputation, especially when the Crash allowed Nintendo to swipe their top spot for themselves (the game also affected the movie's reputation as well.)
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The Trope Maker.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Ironically, the game seems to have undergone some sort of inverse Hype Backlash in recent years, with people questioning if the infamous "Worst Game Ever" reputation really holds up, with quite a few younger critics pointing out that while the game might not be "stellar", it is just as hard to declare it truly "awful", as it is actually functional enough to play from start to finish without any major glitches. Same critics also point out that while the gameplay might admittedly be a bit confusing and abstract without having the manual to consult, it is, once the player actually knows what to do, just sort of tedious and boring rather than infuriatingly bad.
  • Vindicated by History: In recent times, there are a number of people who feel that, considering the pathetically-tiny development time, it's not that bad once you know what you're doing. Hell, this sums up the Angry Video Game Nerd's final opinion on it.