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E.T. the Extra Terrestrial : Mysterious Film Elements

Array ( [0] => ENGL 4360 Spring 2017 [1] => no-show [2] => student exhibit )

Mysterious Film Elements

Image from the film. Displays the spaceship that E.T. arrives on.


Almost every aspect of the supernatural side of this film has to do with E.T. Spielberg uses his alien to be the center of a mystical, wonderful environment. Spielberg directs several film elements towards the creation of a mysterious atmosphere. E.T. is seen, in a way, being tethered to the reality half of Spielberg’s film, which he needs to take advantage of, in order to survive. Spielberg primarily uses sound and special effects to bring that fantasy side of his film to life. He also uses certain aspects of mise en scene to display the fantasy side in a certain mood. With these film elements, Spielberg makes his film awesome; with an interesting world, the story behind this coming-of-age story becomes several times more interesting.


Scene from the film. Show when Elliot first meets E.T. Great display of sound in the film
Image from the film. Displays composition with the setting and the characters.


According to IMDb, "three of the four Oscars the film received were related to sound"(IMDb.com). With the sound in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial leading to a huge portion of the films success, it comes as no surprise that these elements have to do with the supernatural side. The music definitely sounds mysterious, and it helps to show the development of aliens in the film. The music is great at showing E.T. as he interacts with a foreign environment, and helps to display a weird and supernatural, but also cute and interesting character. Next, the sound effects play a huge role in presenting this atmosphere in the film. From the movements E.T. makes to the sounds he makes with his mouth, the character comes across as strange and out of this world.

 Mise en scene

Next, Spielberg uses mise en scene to help create a mysterious atmosphere in the film. The beginning and opening scene take place in the forest, at night; this starts and ends the film in a creepy location. Also, a good portion of the film takes place on Halloween, which is considered to be a very spooky time. Composition is also involved in the mysterious atmosphere. The iconic scene when Elliot and E.T. fly through the night sky which the giant white moon in the background displays a lot of composition.


“E.T. the Extra Terrestrial - Awards.” IMDb.com, Inc. 1990-2017. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083866/awards.