Steven Spielberg has given us scary aliens who kidnap people for mysterious reasons and plant obsessive visions in the minds of others (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and scarier aliens who want to destroy humanity (War of the Worlds), but E.T., despite his homely appearance, is about as benign as alien visitors get.
In fact, he’s so benign, he’s a Christ figure. Presaged by a bright light in the sky, he arrives in a shed. He has amazing healing powers and other seemingly miraculous abilities. He’s adept with tools, like a carpenter. Pursued and captured by the authorities, he’s tortured and killed, a martyr to our sins of paranoia and xenophobia, but the power of love resurrects him. He ascends into the heavens, leaving behind the lesson: “Be good.”