Some are calling it "heartwarming.". Others, like io9, have a different take on the Xfinity ad that debuted during Thursday's Thanksgiving Day parade on NBC. "What you're looking at is [a] major corporation dipping into a considerable bag of tricks labeled 'Nostalgic Intellectual Property' and throwing Super Bowl commercial money at it," the outlet says cynically, while simultaneously admitting the ad is "an absolute delight." What nostalgia the "completely out-of-left-field" commercial stirred up to generate such reaction: It reunited E.T. and Henry Thomas, the 48-year-old actor who played Elliott in the 1982 Steven Spielberg blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. A shortened version of the ad aired during the parade, but there's a four-minute-plus version on YouTube that shows a now-grown Elliott's kids discovering E.T. in their yard, followed by an awed reunion between the movie's two stars.
"You came back," Elliott says breathlessly as he kneels in front of his long-lost alien friend in "A Holiday Reunion." "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 in a release. "It's really a win-win." io9 touches more on the connection between all the seemingly disparate parts involved with the commercial: Xfinity is owned by Comcast, which also owns parade network NBC and Universal Pictures, which owns the Spielberg movie. Still, Time calls the spot "the gift you didn't know you needed." (Read more E.T. stories.)