Nostalgia is a hell of a drug. It has the power to reboot franchises on screens big and small. The sheer force of well-placed nostalgia can practically move mountains. Or can–at the very least–get us in our feelings for a minute or two. Holidays are fuel for nostalgia. Big movies like Star Wars come out, playing on our childhood loves, while Christmas commercials prey on our memories of yesteryear. But you can’t exactly blame the companies that use old characters to sell us new things–it works.
Which is why we’re here to admit we’re total suckers for this new commercial from Xfinity. Not only does it feature characters we’ve known and loved for almost 40 years, but it also reunites them in a truly special way. Behold, the reunion between E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and his dear friend Elliott, with Henry Thomas back as the adult version of the beloved character.
First of all, this about the last thing we expected to wake up to on Thanksgiving morning. What a pleasant surprise. The special commercial is called “A Holiday Reunion” and works as a sort of mini-sequel to the 1982 Steven Spielberg movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In that film, a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) befriends an alien from another world and hides him in his suburban home. He calls him E.T. and slowly introduces him to his family: brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and mother Mary (Dee Wallace).
Eventually, the government catches wind of E.T.’s presence on Earth and the little alien escapes and flees back to his home world. His goodbye scene with Elliott and his family ranks up there as one of the more tear-jerking moments in the history of cinema. “I’ll be right here,” E.T. tells Elliott, placing a finger on the young boy.
The commercial is for Xfinity, owned by Comcast, which also owns Universal Pictures–the company that originally brought us E.T. A shortened version appeared on TV, but the full 4-minute version is available online.
“The audience is going to get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts,” Thomas said of the ad, via io9. “It’s really a win-win.” Thomas also said that Spielberg was apparently on board for the commercial, “because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”
At the end of the day, it may be a corporate-branded way of tapping into nostalgia, but it works. Thanks for phoning home again, old friend.
Featured Image: Xfinity