"E.T. - THE EXTRA-TERRESTIAL"
[The letters are in soft-purple against a black background. Purple is
traditionally the color of that which is sacred.]
NIGHT SKY: NIGHT
The black screen becomes a night sky. The camera angles lowers to show a
forest against the night sky.
LANDING SITE: NIGHT
In an opening in the forest stands a spacecraft. The view of the craft is
obscured by tree branches. The atmosphere is misty, with blue lights coming
from the spacecraft.
[The opening scene is misty and diffused. This forces the audience to pay
close attention to the images on the screen. The characters are not clearly
seen. This engages the audience, as they attempt to see what the aliens
really look like.]
One creature walks up the gang blank and into the ship.
A strange hand, with two long and slender fingers protruding, move aside a
branch that obstructs the view.
[This concentrates the audience's attention. The creature going into the
ship is being observed by another creature. Who are they? What's going on?
This is another technique that forces the audience to focus on the action.]
SPACECRAFT'S GREENHOUSE: NIGHT
The inside of the ship appears to be a greenhouse. There are sounds of
water dripping. Cone shaped objects (possibly alien plants) sit among earth
plants. Vapors flow up from the plants.
[These images all appear non-threatening. The aliens are inferred to be
collecting vegetation, and are thereby inferred to be harmless.]
[Like many of Spielberg's other films, the opening sequences contain almost
no dialogue. The story is told without verbal exposition. He forces the
audience to become engaged in the storytelling process by giving them just
bits of information that they have to piece together into the story. He
doesn't insult their intelligence.]
A group of the aliens work in front of the spacecraft. Suddenly, they hear
a dog howl, and they all stop working. Red lights begin to glow in their
chests. It appears as if their hearts have lit up at the sign of danger, as
the red glow seeps through their translucent skin. After a moment the red
lights dim and they return to their work.
[This sets up the prop of the red-lights signifying danger. These small
creatures are endearing and non-threatening. They are like children, which
is immediate grounds for audience empathy. The thought that they may be in
danger from wild creatures in the forest, also creates empathy for them.]
A small fern grows on the forest floor. An alien hand, with two fingers
protruding, reaches out for the fern. The alien groans. A rabbit turns and
listens. The fingers dig up the plant as the rabbit watches. The alien then
carefully uproots the plant. A small wayward alien walks alone among the
gigantic redwood trees. He's dwarfed by the huge trees.
[The awesome towering trees psychologically creates audience empathy for
the creature. The audience identifies with him because they too feel small
when confronted by these trees.]
The creature stands alone on a hilltop as he stares down at the city lights
below. Suddenly he lets out a moan of fright. A truck, with headlights
glaring, pulls up next to him.
[The quiet, peaceful alien is now in jeopardy.]
The creature runs from the lights. Several other trucks with head- lights
glaring drive up. Smoke flows from their exhaust pipes. Men's legs are seen
as they walk among the trucks. They step into a mud puddle as E.T. watches
from behind a shrub. A man with keys jangling from his waist walks past a
headlight. He carries a flashlight in his hands.