Boy, does Sky know how to pull at our heartstrings. For its 2019 Christmas ad, directed by Lance Acord, the broadcaster has reunited probably one of the world’s best-loved aliens with his childhood pal. If you had any doubt about which extra-terrestrial we were referring to, it is of course ET form Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic of the same name. In the two-minute short Henry Thomas, the actor that played 10-year-old Elliot in ET all the way back in 1982 is reunited with his best friend 37 years after the film first hit the cinemas.
At home for Christmas, Elliot and his family are getting ready for the big day when the lights behind them start to twinkle. When the kids go outside to look at the snowman, they find ET hiding behind the frosty figure, before an astounded Elliot (now in his late 40s) comes rushing out to great his pal. Of course technology has changed somewhat since 1982, so in the ad the family take him through some of the highlights, from VR to the internet. With the message ‘Reconnect this Christmas’, the ad hammers home the idea that a Christmas is a time to catch up with family and old friends, ideally under a blanket in front of the telly.
The spot mimics elements of Spielberg’s film, from the moment when the kids (including the spitting image of a young Drew Barrymore) and ET are screaming their heads off when they discover each other, to the famous bike-flying scene. There’s even echoes of John Williams’ award-winning score.
Director Acord has form in creating emotive, beautiful advertisements and films. As a cinematographer he has worked on numerous box office hits including Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation and Where the Wild Things Are by Spike Jonze, and began directing in the late 1990s. He directed Volkswagen 2011 Super Bowl smash, The Force, Apple’s Misunderstood Christmas ad, and Nike’s Dream Crazy spot, narrated by Colin Kaepernick. Speaking about the ET Came Home For Christmas, Acord says, “More than anything, the whole story is about family.”
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