Top critical review
I've read good novelizations and bad novelizations
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2017
I've read good novelizations and bad novelizations, and this one goes into the category of terrible novelizations. While novelizations often include scenes and even subplots that end up cut from the final film due to the author writing from the screenplay rather than the final cut, this one seemed to be made up almost whole cloth from the author's imagination. Frankly, I prefer Spielberg and Mathison's imaginations. E.T. has a strange one-sided relationship with the kids' mother that verges on disturbing, he seems to dislike the kids, even his relationship with Elliott doesn't come through like it should. There's a character named Lance who isn't in the movie (maybe he was cut?), and there's so much stuff with Mary (the mother) that makes her a horrible character. I have never liked her in the movie, but she's not as awful as portrayed here: she's such a middle-aged divorcee stereotype it's offensive (even for the time this book was written!). Also, the novelization portrays E.T. as an old being, but I have always thought of him as a young character. He gets left behind because he's curious and goes too far away from the ship, to look at the city below. An older, experienced character wouldn't do that. Some novelizations add more detail and make a richer story while still keeping true to what we see on screen (see Wayland Drew's novelization of "Willow" for a great example). This one does not.