02 / BMX BAN­DITS

E.T. THE EX­TRA-TER­RES­TRIAL (1982)

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

If the first over-the-moon fly­ing bike ride in Steven Spiel­berg’s masterpiece is pure en­chant­ment, the sec­ond, at the end of the film, is com­plete and ut­ter ex­hil­a­ra­tion. El­liott (Henry Thomas) and his bud­dies are on BMX bikes, fu­ri­ously ped­dling E.T. to meet the aliens’ space­ship. Chased by the Feds on foot, they are con­fronted by a road block of po­lice cars and bar­ri­ers cutting off their es­cape. All looks lost — Spiel­berg cuts twice, mov­ing closer each time to Thomas’ face to heighten the sense of im­pend­ing doom — un­til E.T. mag­i­cally lifts the en­tire group up, bikes in­cluded, off the ground and into a blazing or­ange sun­set. The threat was di­min­ished in the 2002 20th an­niver­sary reis­sue when Spiel­berg dig­i­tally trans­formed the guns of the gov­ern­ment agents into walkie-talkies, but ei­ther way, the (lit­er­ally) up­lift­ing end­ing is the stuff cin­e­matic dreams are made of.

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