Updated: Nov 11, 2019
We are so conditioned to apocalyptic alien invasions in the movies that for a moment, it seems difficult to imagine that there could be friendly aliens. But Hollywood has certainly had its share of the benign extra-terrestrials.
Think the peace-loving Na’vi tribe on Pandora (Avatar (2009)) or aliens bringing back to life a dead scientist (The Abyss (1989)) or aliens recreating a cherished childhood memory for the first human they meet (Contact (1997)).
But if there was one alien that would take the top prize of ‘most endearing onscreen alien’ every time, it will have to be Spielberg’s E.T. (1982).
Of course, comics-inspired movies have their fair share of heroic and much-admired aliens. Think Kal-El a.k.a Superman or Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder. But we are not talking of mightiest or strongest amongst friendly aliens. We are looking for most endearing. And in that space, E.T. tends to trump the rest time and again.
But we are not talking of mightiest or strongest amongst friendly aliens. We are looking for most endearing. And in that space, E.T. tends to trump the rest, time and again.
Italian special effects artist, Carlo Rambaldi designed the odd-looking, homesick alien with its extendable neck and searching eyes that won the hearts of cinema-goers the world over. More importantly, the bond it formed with the young boy, Elliott, formed the emotional kernel of that magical movie.
Some might argue that a worthy contender to the title of most endearing alien is Chewbacca from the Star Wars franchise. Nicknamed 'Chewie', he was an 8-feet tall, shaggy-haired Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk who led a fascinatingly wildlife and was most famous as Hans Solo’s trusted sidekick and co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. He communicated in guttural sounds, but the loyalty he displayed won him diehard fans over the decades.
We could even go so far as to nominate another contender from the Star Wars franchise – the diminutive Jedi master Yoda whose charming way with the English language was matched by an affable, quirky and stoic manner that effectively masked one of the most powerful Jedi warriors ever.
Difficult to choose, this is! But if you consider the heart-warming vulnerability of E.T. and the wonder and innocence of its worldview, then it is easy to understand why it remains the most loved alien on screen. Strong with the brown skinned one, the force is! Herh herh herh!