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Thursday, October 04, 2007

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Yes, the part just before the ending is very intense, isn't it? ET looks so pitiful and gray and withered. It's really sad and heartbreaking. I remember that being hard to watch, and I was an adult watching it. All that tension, with the heartless government people wearing those creepy spacesuits...I can see why it bothered your son and his friend.

Sometimes it's surprising what scares children in movies. A few years ago, I rented the film "Big," in which Tom Hanks plays a boy in a man's body. He's hilarious in that film and I knew my son would love it. But there's a scene involving a magical arcade game at a nighttime carnival...my son FREAKED out over that scene.(That movie also has some adult sexual situations that I had totally forgotten about, but it seemed like my son didn't really notice them)

When my daughter was about 4, I bought the Dr. Seuss Grinch movie for her. She wouldn't even watch it. The illustration of the Grinch scared her so badly that I had to return the movie.

I remember being so scared of the illustration of bad god Tash in the final Narnia book that I would always skip those pages. I didn't find out what happened in that section for a few years.

We watched ET recently as well but at home on DVD. I don't think anything is ever quite as scary in your own living room. Sitting in the dark, in a cinema, being a voyeur with that huge picture and loud, surround sound is a very potent force (which explains the success of the cinema as a medium). I think one needs to be a bit more cautious when going to the flicks. What struck me with ET was also just how 'professional' the storytelling was. Not necessarily good, groundbreaking or original, but it purred along like a perfectly constructed machine, doing everything just right to fulfill its purpose. That makes it even more effective.

David, yes, the musical score is very dominant in ET and is used very classically to build tension. And I keep thinking about what a perfect piece of story-telling it is - very economical and succint, but as you say, everything in its place to propel the story forwards, and I don't mean just the plot but the emotional plot too - especially the characterisation of Elliot as a boy suffering from his parents' divorce.

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