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At the risk of going against the vast majority, I'm not going to praise how wonderful and ground breaking this film is. At the time of its release in 1977, it may have been powerful in terms of special effects and falls firmly within the time when there was a lot of conspiracy theories over aliens. Naturally, these conspiracies haven't gone away, merely been replaced by other more pressing issues the world focuses on instead.
Richard Dreyfuss plays Roy, a man who starts to experience strange occurrences before what he firmly believes to be an alien spaceships appears right above his truck one dark night. Convinced he has just had a close encounter, his behaviour starts to border on obsessive as he and a small number of others get more and more determined to prove the existence of aliens, and the fact that they have abducted and returned a number of people.
To us these days, aliens and UFO conspiracies are commonplace, and a film about them equally so. I can fully appreciate that in 1977 this would have been quite an impressive and talked about film, but over 30 years later, I didn't feel that impact or impetus. Dreyfuss was excellent as the nervous and obsessed Roy, and the acting around him could have done with a few lessons, or at least watching him and following suit, as the majority of it is rather wooden and unbelievable. Teri Garr as Roy's wife had moments where she showed what she can do, but the large part of the time it just wasn't strong enough to make her believable as a wife who thinks her husband is going mad.
Elsewhere, the direction takes the film through a number of slow and tension building scenes, designed to get you on the edge of your seat in anticipation of the unknown, waiting for the moment some sort of clarity helps us understand what's going on. The main point here is that again, many years on, I just didn't feel that tension. Instead, it felt as if the film was dragging quite a bit in places, livened up only by Dreyfuss' drive to bully his way through a slow film or by an interesting line of government conspiracy that was explored by director Steven Spielberg.
Usually, I find that Spielberg's hunger for a good yarn makes sure that the pace of the film is good, but here I really think that it's just too long. Had there been less dwelling and build up in certain places, my attention would probably not have wavered quite as much as it did, and the result would have been a bit more favourable. As it stands, it is a good film in that you can see the skill levels and the story itself is solid, but just the execution and some of the acting left something to be desired.
The music from John Williams and the final scenes that give us some closure do some justice in bringing the film back up to scratch and making sure that it finishes strongly. I was very interested at the end, and as I saw the final scenes, I finally understood some of the parodies that films have done of this one, allowing myself a little nod and wry smile. It still hasn't raised this to be a very good film after the slow buildup, but I can see why others might appreciate the beauty of the piece and how it is controlled throughout. Worth a watch to see what the hype is all about, but don't necessarily expect the masterpiece you may think it is.
Not being a particularly big sci fi fan and looking at the prospect of watching a film that runs for two hours did not really raise my spirits however the other half claimed that this was a classic film and so I gave it a whirl, to be honest it was not really my cup of tea and while I found it ok it is not a film I would want to watch a second time around.
Close Encounters of a Third Kind is all about aliens comming to visit earth and the story opens with an increase in strange happenings and sapce ships being spotted. There is an increase in the number of reported alien encounters and this time all of those who experience one suddenly develop creative abilities such as Roy who sculpts a mountain, this image is repeated by other people claiming to have met aliens. The government are trying to suppress the stories however it soon becomes apparent that aliens are on the way and that leads to the rather surreal noise making machine as a way to communicate with them, a scene I found it hard to take seriously after all the satirical comedy sketches that have aped it over the years.
Richard Dreyfus stars as normal bloke Roy who is thrust into the middle of all this hysteria and wonderment. Teri Garr played his wife Ronnie
however to be honest this was a film all about special effects, 1970's style, that it was about the quality of the acting or the character development.
Unfortunately this film lived up to my expectations and I found it rather dull and much too long, then again if it had been interesting then the length of the film would not have been an issue. I guess it was one of those films that had to be sen at the time of its release to fully appreciate it, something I never had the optioon to do given that I was yet to be born. You can buy it for a penny on Amazon or you can pay lots more for one of the many special editions that have been released.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Strange things are happening around the world with objects that have been missing for years suddenly reappearing in silly places. In America lights are being seen and they are spaceships which are causing the power supply to be messed up. Roy is called out when the power in his town goes down but whilst he is out he has a close encounter with one of the ships. His wife does not believe him and when he starts having an urge to sculpt she thinks he has lost the plot.
Roy is not the only one who has had a close encounter, other have too and they all feel the same urge but they are drawing a mountain. The government are trying to keep a lid on the encounters but this is proving hard and they are trying to work out where the alien ships are going to land.
Will Roy and the others be able to work out what they are feeling and will the aliens ships land and if so what do they want?
I have given the briefest of plot summaries for this film as there is a lot more which happens but I feel that by giving any more of t away I will be spoiling it for those who may not have watched this yet. I will confess that I had no desire to watch this film as I know it is very old now and I thought it would be boring with rubbish effects but hubby did manage to persuade me and I have to say taking everything into account I did actually find it was quite good.
The storyline to the film was good but I did find it was dragged out and if 30 minutes had been removed from the film we still would not have lost any of the impact of the storyline and I don't think I would have started to get bored like I did. The alien theme and story was nothing new but bearing in mind this was made in 1977 then this would have been quite a new concept then.
The acting was good and Richard Dreyfus played the lead role of Roy. He did a good job but I just though something was missing from his character. He had no chemistry with his wife and children which I found a shame as this would have made him seem less strange. When he had his encounter he did work well with the effects and made them look believable. I did think he worked slightly better with the character of Julian who was played by Melinda Dillon and they seemed more suited on screen together.
We did have a lot of supporting roles in the film and for me they were all pretty good but I just could not warm to the role of Roy's wife, Ronnie. She was played by Teri Garr and she was wooden throughout. There was nothing from her and all her lines seemed forced. I think I would have liked a more natural person in this role to have dealt with the craziness of Roy better. The others were better and very different and I thought they all managed to bring a lot of different elements and characters to the film.
The film looked very dated and as I previously said it was made back in 1977. The clothes which were worn and the hairstyles were quite funny at times but for me the worst thing was the effects. They were so dated and did look awful but bearing in mind that these would have been state of the art and excellent when the film came out I can forgive this. I knew it was an old film before I watched it so I was not shocked by the result of the special effects. There were also a lot of badly added backdrops to the film.
For me the music has to be the best part of the film. It was all made and produced by John Williams who is well known for his music on Superman and Star Wars. It was brilliant right from the start of the film. The theatrical and orchestral feel helped add to the drama and tension of the film and I do give a lot of credit to John Williams for another great soundtrack.
As this is a film only review there are no bonus features to speak of. The running time of the film is 132 minutes and I just found this was too long. The certificate is a PG and I do agree with this as it would make a good family film. The DVD can be bought on many internet sites for just a few pounds now.
Overall I am only giving this film 3 stars as it is very dated but taking everything into account it does make for a good family film as long as you can get the kids to sit for over 2 hours!
Spielberg has made a lot of sci-fi, but few are as illuminating as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, his first and still arguably his best foray into the genre. Much like his later E.T., it is a spellbinding and adventurous examination of life from another world, and while at times lacking the heart and soul of E.T. (probably the better, and certainly more entertaining of the two films), it still has Spielberg's major tropes present, such as an examination of the family amidst tumultuous circumstances.
This isn't the friendly alien story that E.T. was, either; there's a lot of dread pervading from the first frame, aided entirely by the discomfiting soundtrack, and the brooding visuals. These subtle nuances add up to create a distinctly unsettling experience, where the viewer is placed in the same perspective as the people in this town, who aren't sure to what to think when an alien invasion seems imminent. This is a clever directorial move by Spielberg, and makes the film's real conceit, that the aliens are more benevolent than you would expect, all that more interesting when we realise it.
Particular praise goes to Spielberg's Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss, who is the film's heart and soul; everyone around him believes him to be crazy, and he is in many ways the face of innocence while the empiricists around him, looking to systematise and understand what is going on, are seen as not truly experiencing the event and almost being "too scientific". This suspense all builds to the final reel, which is truly telling and allows Spielberg to deliver the amazingly phantasmagorical visuals that were truly groundbreaking for their time.
Though never as regularly mentioned as E.T., Encounters evokes the same kind of childlike wonder in viewers; it was no doubt entrancing during its time, yet now, over 30 years later, it hasn't lost a whole lot of what has made it so enduring (despite some dating effects).
I first saw this movie many years ago and a few years after it's original release in 1977. This is perhaps one of the most famous sci-fi mystery films ever made and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Roy Neary is played by Richard Dreyfuss who believes in the supernatural and unexplained, especially as he thinks he has had an encounter with a UFO. After his claims they are dismissed pretty quickly and so he becomes obsessesed with the truth and what his experience actually means. In the process he alienates his family as his obsession takes on a mind of it's own.
There is only one person who understands him and what has happened and that is Jillian Guiler played by Melinda Dillon. She is driven by her own search for her son who has seen a terrifying vision at her home and is now lost. She therefore shares Roy's frustrations and fear of the unknown for a reason not too different. There is some sort of connection between the two of them.
I also felt courage and joy when I watched this movie portrayed by the lead characters who are determined to find out the truth no matter what and despite most of their family and friends not believing their story. There are so many wonderful scenes in this movie and visually it's fantastic considering how long ago it was made now.
You are always interested and wondering what the aliens will be like and if they will have contact with them. Also, what do they want us for and why are they here?
This is an inconic movie that must been seen if you've not already done so.
I first went to see this at the cinema back in 1978 and was struck by how good a story it was and how well it was made. The special effects back then were brilliant.
The story is about a space ship that comes to Earth to find out whether it is worth meeting up with the humans. They send out smaller ships from the big one to fly round the world and check things out. Some people are taken onto the ship. When the ships come everything electrical goes haywire like lights flash on and off and the tv goes mad and cars stop etc. The try to communicate to the earth by sending musical notes and people hear this around the world but not many people know what is happening.
There is a team of scientists in the US that know what is happening and they develop a computer to communicate back to the ship and await the time it will come down so they can do it. They know where it is going to be and they build a large area with computers etc and a big space for the ship to come down out in the mountains. They dont want anyone to know about it so they hide it by putting army people around the edges to stop people getting near it.
The thing is that a lot of people who have had an experience with the smaller ships are left with an image implanted in their brain of the mountain near where the ship will come down but they dont know what the image is at first and they start to paint it and draw it.
Richard Dreyfus plays Roy Neary who is one of those who has the image in his head. He starts off by drawing the shape then ends up making a huge model of it in his house which is frowned on by his family. He is drawn to find out what is going on. Then he sees a picture on the tv of the mountain and knows this is the place and sets off to investigate.
This is a brilliant film for all the family as it has kids in it so the children find it easy to watch and it is funny in parts too.
The film was directed by Steven Spelberg and it is rated a PG in the UK.
This is one of the most famous sci fi films of all time,it tells the story about a group of people who all begin to act strangley,no members of there familys are effected only them,they start to express themselves in different ways but all feel the need to draw or model a mountain which becomes a compelling obsession driving there families mad,through a series of events a couple of the people meet up and try to find the mountin they keep seeing,when they reach the mountain they find they arnt the onlyones there ,a huge military base has been built and there expecting some visitors.
This is a amazing film directed by Steven speilburg,its got a excellent atmosphere though its never scary or sinister,thecast is amazing and for its time the special effects are outstanding,it builds up to the most amazing ending from which you wont be able to tear yourself away.There is quite a few extras on the special edition so if you are a big fan i would highly recomend it
131 minutes rated a pg i found it on amazon uk for £2.65
This is a classic! To appreciate it you had to be there, you had to be in 1978 that is. This film was released around about the same time as Star Wars. Two totally different films, tied together with (for the time) marvellous special effects and beings from outer space, and that really was all they had in common.
But all too often CE3K (as it is known amongst fans of the film) is lumped in and compared with Star Wars, so lets drop Star Wars now.
CE3K follows the course of a family man, Roy Neary who becomes obsessed with a shape he is 'seeing' in his imagination. This obsession occurs after he has an encounter with an 'aircraft' hovering above his truck. The aircraft paralyses his truck's electrical system and leaves Roy 'sunburnt' on one side of his face.
In a parallel story we have single mother, Gillian Guiler's obsession with this shape. Her obsession comes about after a similar experience, but Roy finds his experience fascinating and enchanting, Gillian's is not so.
Both their lives become entangled with finding this 'shape', Roy's obsession causes a family split; Gillian's obsession and motives are concerned with completing her family unit.
This obsession drives the viewer too, although with a little forward knowledge, the viewers obsession is in whether they will get to see space ships and men from mars.
Let's just say the film comes to a rather climactic and spectacular ending. To really appreciate this film, try to image CGI hasn't been invented yet, but also try to appreciate the human story within.
Made at roughly the same time and released about a year apart, 'Star Wars' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' were both phenomenally successful, but whereas the popularity of 'Star Wars' never waned, spawning the closest thing cinema has come to a religious sect, 'Close Encounters' produced just two indirect sequels. The first, the 1980 'Special Edition', was a re-edit, with the awkward mid-section trimmed and new, slightly redundant, special effects added to the end. The second was 'E.T.', a pointless scaled-down version of 'Close Encounters', reducing its big ideas and scale to a suburban fairy tale where all the world's rough edges can be smoothed away with a magic wand. The film itself, despite being a monster hit in 1978, is perhaps forgotten by many people, even though it has hardly dated and its effects are as stunning today as they were fifteen years ago. If you don't know the story, it's quite simple - aliens, who have been studying mankind for at least half a century, finally make direct contact, and they do so by sending messages to a group of scientists headed by Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut) and by planting psychic invitations in the minds of ordinary people like electrical engineer Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss). Neary's life collapses as he becomes obsessed with images of the alien rendezvous, Devil's Tower in Wyoming. The effects are simply fabulous, and rather like 'Jurassic Park', which is a more trivial film, what distinguishes the effects sequences is Spielberg's unique visual perspective. Before he sees a UFO, Neary is parked on a road, and the headlights of a car approach behind. He waves the driver around him. Then, it happens a second time, but Neary fails to notice that the headlights have this time risen up behind his car and gone into the sky. Heavily influenced by tales of UFO spotters, Spielberg pulls out numerous beautiful
images, like the lights of a flying saucer illuminating a lonely road, or the shadow of a craft drifting silently across the countryside. Moreover, two of the best sequences anywhere in his cinema appear when the aliens attempt - the second time successfully - to kidnap and study a three-year-old child (Cary Guffey) from his home in the middle of nowhere. In the first, Barry's bedroom comes alive, his toys suddenly charging around the house, and Barry goes downstairs to see something in the kitchen. Forget your spaceships and explosions, one of sci-fi cinema's most spine-tingling moments is the look of delight on Barry's face when he sees an alien - we only see his reaction (and what he was actually looking at was Spielberg in a rabbit mask), but it's magic, more effective in two seconds than the whole of 'E.T.' Better yet is the bit where they come back, determined to borrow him for a while. The skies fill with clouds, and huge orange lights descend on the house. Everything the film has told us so far reassures us that the aliens are friendly, but I maintain that this bit is one of the two or three most terrifying things you'll ever see. One part, where Barry (knowing they actually mean well), throws open the door to be bathed in unearthly light, is one of the defining images of fantasy cinema - nothing in 'Star Wars' comes close. Like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', 'Close Encounters' is guilty of Steven Spielberg's worst sins - sentimentality, nostalgia, and a fundamental aversion to challenging his audience - but they come out in fascinating ways. Following the immense wave of pessimistic paranoid films which made the first half of the seventies the most artistically successful period in American cinema, Spielberg and George Lucas made a series of reassuring films which were monster hits. But whereas Lucas' films were either set in the past ('American Graffiti') or in ano
ther galaxy ('Star Wars'), Spielberg's big attempt to recapture optimism for American audiences was sent specifically in the present day. The thesis of the film is that the aliens select ordinary human beings rather than scientists to be ambassadors. Roy Neary is one of many ordinary people who the aliens want to take away. Think of any sci-fi movie, for a good series of examples think of every Michael Crichton story ('Jurassic Park', 'Andromeda Strain', 'Sphere', 'Congo'). It's always about experts, specialists, scientists. A group of professionals are always selected by a grateful nation / world to represent humanity. 'Close Encounters' probably isn't the first science fiction film whose protagonist didn't go to university, but it violates rules of plotting and characterisation set down since 1951, rules which are still commonly observed today. Neary is incredibly ordinary, he lives in the suburbs, he has a noisy family, and he has one of the most boring jobs of any movie hero I can think of. And it's him the aliens look at and say, yeah, he'll do. Dreyfus was one of the biggest actors of the seventies and his performance is one of the things that really holds the thing together. He is effortlessly, hilariously likeable and pulls off some really difficult things - Neary obsessively sculpts the Tower where the aliens will land, whether it is in shaving foam or mashed potato, and it's Dreyfus' credit that these scenes do not fall apart, as they have the potential to be incredibly silly. The film doesn't entirely escape without problems. Neary is deliberately cast as a child-man, and this reflects very much where Spielberg was in the 70s (by his own admission). A nerd obsessed with movies, he doesn't really connect with Neary's family at all, and so when the plot demands that he drive them away, instead of feeling Neary's horror that his life ha
s collapsed, you instead share Spielberg's evident relief that those squealing kids have finally been got rid of. Earlier drafts of the script seem to have made Neary's sacrifice of his family more central (Steve McQueen read a version of the script where Neary's family are around at the end, and I'm not giving anything away if I tell you that this doesn't happen here). Spielberg deliberately makes Neary's family loathsome, helped in no small part by a tremendous performance from Teri Garr as Roy's horrendous, small-minded wife Ronnie. This is easy, this is no problem - if you were Roy Neary, you wouldn't need to have your mind invaded by aliens to consider dumping them. The checkout girl at the local store would be enough. This one major flaw aside, 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is the purest distillation of what Steven Spielberg is good at. The cinema of awe and wonder, the playing with light and perspective, the use of widescreen and music - all the things he decided to downplay in favour of turgid Oscar-chasing dramas throughout the Eighties and Nineties - are to the fore. The effects are superb and never teasingly used, while the climax gives that all too rare experience of showing you something you haven't seen before. I watched this movie again on DVD yesterday, and I honestly believe it stands up as well now as it did when I saw it in 1978. The DVD gives you the unaltered '78 release version without the expanded ending which is needlessly explicit, and also contains a horribly sentimental snatch of 'When you wish upon a star' on the soundtrack, which makes me want to reach for the sick bag. I won't do one of those separate DVD reviews - suffice to say that the remastered film is fabulous, the sound is great and there is a superb documentary on the making of the film. The documentary elides tastefully over such details as producer Julia Phillips' monumental appetite for c
oke, or the titantic bust-up between Spielberg and original writer Paul Schrader, but nevertheless, as far as detail goes, it's one of the most interesting 'making of' features I've seen.
. This story is basically about several people who become obsessed with a certain shape that turns out to be a mountain and then are drawn to this place. It turns out that the government (?) are expecting a visit from aliens who eventually arrive. drop off a collection of folk who had disappeared in the past and then depart having loaded up with a batch of volunteers. I am not really sure why I can watch this film over and over again. The acting is OK but nothing to write home about. The story line may be a little different but not totally unique and the special effects are fine but only occur at the very end of the film The first time maybe I was held by trying to work out what was happening but now I know. Whatever the draw this is a watchable film – a classic of its type. Everyone should see it at least once.
Close Encounters" was one of the most sensational movies of the 1970s. I remember seeing it at the cinema with my parents and sisters.We sat still staring at the screen mesmerised it was that good. I would love to see a flying saucer. The movie does tend to drag a bit in the first half, as the character played by Richard Dreyfuss a family man,slowly becomes more and more obsessed with building scale models of something in his home,after a late night encounter with one of the space craft. Finally, about the time Dreyfuss' character realizes the things he's been building are models of Devil's Peak,his family leaves him, and he goes out on a solo quest to Devil's Peak. Naturally this being a 70's movie,the military conspires against people. The military publicly denies to people that the various strange events around the world are the work of aliens from another world, when in fact the military has been able to figure out where they are going to land, and has built a landing field and a research facility there (on Devil's Peak). The military tries to intercept people like Dreyfuss, who have had telepathic communications from the aliens about Devil's Peak, before they can get there. The spaceships in the movie are great fun to watch. At one point you get to see the State Police pursue some of the smaller craft,which cruise the motorways at night speeding, just a few feet above the road. Impishly they stay just ahead of the police officers,who pursue the craft through a tollbooth station marked Ohio Toll Road. The aliens are portrayed, by implication, as menacing at only one point in the movie.Late one hot summer night, a little boy and his mother, who live in an isolated farmhouse in Indiana,receive a ghostly visit from something which floods the house with light, rattles the windows in their frames,and even unscrews the screws in the ventilation covers in the house. The little boy watches all this
with a smile on his face and all excited, his face reflects only awe, fascination, and wonder. It soon becomes apparent that the little boy sees something in the house his mother cannot;and shortly after he disappears, with his mother screaming for him in the night. The landing of the spaceships on Devil's Peak is the grand finale of the movie. A fleet of smaller spaceships arrives, and hovers just above the field, almost close enough to touch, and allowing the nervous scientists to take hundreds of pictures and measurements with their assembled instruments. The gigantic mother ship follows, dwarfing the entire field, and majestically landing on Devil's Peak. The next, and last, 20 minutes of the movie are the most fascinating. The scientists struggle to communicate with the creatures inside the mother ship,as they make the first move by blinking a series of multi-colored lights, and sounding musical notes, from the rim around their ship. The scientists try to respond, while figuring out the language, with a technician playing a multi-tiered keyboard attached to a football-stadium type electric light board, which plays notes and flashes color back. Suffice it to say the humans and the aliens communicate, which pave the way for their final meeting. I don't want to tell you the end of the movie; just that it's a good ending, despite some of the "hippie type" feel-good nuances so typical of the 70s.By the way, the ending of the version released in 1977 is very different from the "special edition" released in 1980,which has additional footage. The earlier version is far superior. Stephen Spielberg really outdid himself with this film. This like E.T will always be remembered as a classic for years to come. I plan to buy the video as i have seen it many times on vidoes that i have rented.
Arguably the best film spielberg has made. There is a sense of genius throughout the two hours it lasts, the play of lights and brilliance extends into the realm of thought not just of the rich pictures and scenes. Excellent directorial craftsmanship. There are traces of influence. Hitchcock and Kubrick among others but the young director has taken the hints and is breaking new ground with a vengeance. A self-fulfiling prophesy, a signpost for others to see? A landmark in the history of the cinema.
I first saw Close Encounters Of The Third Kind in the cinema...unbelievably it was over 20 years ago. To begin with the screen was full of fast moving images...lots of men driving around deserts and shouting at one another, talking in French, discovering airplanes, and locals who had suffered sunburn...but only on one side of their face. I found it confusing to watch, the noise from the jeeps and wind and background characters made it hard for me to hear the dialogue, I thought I was going to hate the film and certainly wouldn't understand it... Wrong! From the minute the excellent Richard Dreyfuss and his fictional family, including Teri Garr as his wife, (whose whiney voice usual annoys me immensely), appear on the screen, piece by piece the story begins to fall into place. Earth is being visited by aliens, they are trying to make contact with us and the American government knows, but doesn't want us to know. A simplistic explanation for a film that has so many layers, it might be related to an onion! You can read as much, or as little, as you want into this fabulous film. Settle for the visiting alien aspect and it's still an excellent film, with great effects (unbelievable effects for it's day). Dig a little deeper and you will enjoy the developing relationship between Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon, as the mother of an abducted child. Witness the totally realistic breakdown of the Neary families relationships with Dreyfuss, as obsession with the alien visitors takes over his life. See how the worlds nations respond in different ways to the alien pressence. And be impressed as the Earth's residents actually work together to prepare for whatever the visitors have in mind for them... There are so many moments that stick in my mind, some of them mere fleeting glimpses, but so beautifully staged that they tug at your heartstrings or stay in your cons
ciousness, long after the film has moved on to other places and scenes. I love the part where Dreyfuss pulls up at a junction to look at his map, and waves for a waiting car to go around him, he does it a second time, but now it is a space craft which goes up and over his truck, instead of around and causes him and the contents of his truck to be momentarily weightless...fabulous...you must see it! Once seen, you could never forget the sight of Dreyfuss, trying to mould an image in his head, into something of substance with whipped potato...we all know what he is thinking of and his pain at being unable to grasp what haunts his thoughts is almost tangible... In the scene where humans who have been detained over the years by the aliens, first step foot back on Earth, they are greeted by men with lists of the missing, (obviously the government knows much more about these events than anyone had believed). A group of American Naval Flyers appear from the depths of the craft, to be greeted by "Welcome home Navy"...the bewildered men, having aged not a day, are lead away, to be told that their loved ones have aged or died or found other loves - the moment lasts but a second or two but is so poignant, to me it is one of the most endearing images from the whole film. I must have seen this movie well over half a dozen times, to be honest, probably many more times...but there is always something new to discover or a favourite moment to wonder over. Whether you love or loathe science fiction, you should see this film...it is simply wonderful.
This is one of the first truly moving Sci-Fi films many of us saw. (OK so i am old, you probably have spots.) It's got the wonder about it, and the assurance, almost, that there is life out there, and it is beautiful. It is only a film I know, but you find yourself believing. And that music ... de de de de de (you must know it, sing along). It's got that cuddly little Richard Dreyfuss in it too.
Released in 1977, Close Encounters of the Third Kind was that year's cerebral alternative to Star Wars. It displays many qualities that distinguish it as the archetypal Spielberg movie: the fantasy-meets-reality storyline (to be developed further in ET of course); the struggling Everyman character (Richard Dreyfuss in one of his best roles) with an extraordinary destiny; the anonymous and apparently hostile government agents (long before The X-Files); the sense of childlike awe in the face of the magical and otherworldly; and a sweeping feel for epic filmmaking learned from the classic school of David Lean. Contributing not a little to the movie's overall success are the Oscar-winning cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond, Douglas Trumbull's lavish effects, and an extraordinary score by John Williams that develops from eerie atonality à la Ligeti (a parallel with 2001) to the gorgeous sentiment of "When You Wish Upon a Star" over the end credits. Not quite content with the final result, Spielberg tinkered with the editing and inserted some new scenes, including shots inside the mothership, to make a "Special Edition" in 1980 which ran three minutes shorter than the original. --Mark Walker