Fun fact: I saw E.T. a couple of times as a kid when it was originally out in theaters and I don’t think I’ve seen it all the way through since. Why? Because it freaking traumatized the living shit out of me! Even after all this time I still have that image in my head of white, half-dead E.T. lying like garbage on a creek bed with leaves stuck to him. My parents had to practically drag me out of that theater screaming. For some reason, they took me back to see it a little later and things went a little better. Oddly enough, I still loved E.T. and I had all the LJN toys and a whole bunch of stuffed E.T.’s, some of which were probably weird bootlegs. I can even remember one that was fashioned out of a leather-like material that felt like it came from a real skinned alien. Jesus! Anyway, I saw the Series 2 figures from NECA for a good price and they called out to me. I was in the mood for some nostalgia and NECA rarely ever steers me wrong.
These fellas come in sealed clam shells, which aren’t really collector friendly, unless you carefully cut across the back. Either way you’ll need a strong blade to get in and a stronger constitution to withstand the rush of plastic fumes that spray out. Mmmmm… Glorious!!! Series 1 consisted of “Galactic Friend” E.T. and “Transvestite” E.T. (with the second being my un-official name for him) whereas this one includes “Telepathic” E.T. and “Night Flight” E.T. Let’s start with the later…
As the name suggests, this version recreates the moonlit bike flight where E.T. is all bundled up in a towel in the basket of Elliot’s bike. As such, the figure looks absolutely spot on. The towel is flexible plastic with a cloth texture and plenty of realistic wrinkles. It surrounds the entire figure and only allows his adorable face to peek out. It’s a shame there isn’t a bike and basket to go with him. And that leads me to the reason I’ve passed this figure up a few times when I saw it on the pegs. I’m a dope, and I actually thought you were seeing all you were getting. But, nope…
The plastic blanket can be “unwrapped” and there is indeed a fully realized and articulated figure in there. You just unpeg the flap and unfold it. The E.T. that lies within is a fantastic figure with an absolutely spot-on sculpt. The wrinkles and creases in the skin alone are worth the price of admission and the color used here is right on the money. Even with all the E.T. figures and dolls I had as a kid, I would have killed for something this good.
Even from the back you can see his creepy back ribs and more of the effort that went into making the skin look super realistic. The articulation here is no slouch either, at least not considering E.T.’s rather limited nature. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The feet are also attached on rotating hinges. “I don’t like his feet!” SHUT UP, GERTIE!!! The collapsed neck is attached to the body with a ball joint and to the head with another. Remember that… two ball joints. It’ll be important later.
The portrait is superb. I don’t want to overdo it with my adoration of the skin texturing on this figure, but damn, there it is again in the face. The eyes feature a bit of a cartoony look to them, but I think it rather suits the figure. He’s also sporting his lovable, almost noble, expression. This is how I like to remember him most, rather than being dressed up like a crazy Aunt or dying on the bathroom floor. E.T. is just one of those timeless designs that walks the fine line between adorable and terrifying. I think that’s a big part of what made him work so well on the screen.
And so what we have here is a fantastic little all-purpose E.T figure for your shelf. The only way you can possibly follow up a figure this perfect is with E.T. in his bathrobe drunk out of his mind on Coors… so let’s do that!
While I would have voted for “Drunk E.T.” to appear on the package, NECA went with “Telepathic E.T.” and I can appreciate why. Obviously, this guy shares some parts with the vanilla E.T. we just looked at, but there’s plenty new here too. The body and feet are the same and that’s about it. The bathrobe uses that old trick we’ve seen out of Hasbro plenty of times, where the sculpted robe is basically a vest and the sleeves are part of the arm sculpts. It works well here and allows for full articulation in those shoulder joints. The baggy sleeves, on the other hand, do limit the range of those rotating hinges in the elbows a bit. It would have been interesting to see this figure attempted with a soft goods robe, but I still dig what we got here a lot.
The new head sculpt is absolutely hysterical. E.T. has had a few too many Coors and he’s starting to feel it. Ugh, I know exactly how he feels. Just looking at him makes me want to re-evaluate some of my life choices. His slack jaw and slightly exposed teeth are perfect.
This figure comes with a couple of neat accessories and one that I found too much to bother with. First up, we have the flowers that he brought back from the dead and then somehow went on to act as a barometer to his own health status. These look really good, both in terms of paint and sculpt, even if I didn’t fully comprehend the mumbo-jumbo surrounding their role in the movie.
Next up, you get the Speak n’Spell that he used to learn how to communicate with. Only he didn’t. That’s always how I remembered it, but he really just cannibalized it for parts and seemed to learn his communication skills from the television and Gertie. This is a decent accessory and I appreciate that they actually sculpted the damn thing, rather than just slap a sticker on a piece of plastic. Now, there is also an extended neck piece included in the box, but it is a nightmare to get the short neck to detach from the head. I did it once, but for a moment, I thought I had snapped off the ball joint. I wasn’t about to try it again. Sorry! In theory, though, it will work with either figure.
If I seem a little familiar with some particulars of a movie that I haven’t watched since I was a kid. That’s because I specifically cued it up before sitting down to write this and watched it all the way through for the first time in ages. My initial appraisal holds. This is a really weird film that drives home just how messed up a lot of kids movies were back in the day. I can see why it terrified and disturbed me so much, but I can also see why I fell in love with the character the way I did. In any event, these are fantastic figures and while I’ll probably never watch this damn movie again, I’m happy to have E.T. represented on my shelf. For good or for ill, he was a very influential character in my formative years and just maybe helped to plant the seeds that turned me into a hardcore horror movie junkie by the time I was in my teens.