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Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Posted : 2 months, 3 weeks ago on 29 July 2014 04:53

I know I’m going to get plenty of side-eyes and comments telling me that I’m crazy, but I just don’t see what’s so great about Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I find much of it interminably dull, it’s depiction of aliens at odds with itself, but it’s saved by impeccable craft and a great leading performance from Richard Dreyfuss.

I think the main problem with Close Encounters is that none of the main characters are terribly compelling or fleshed out enough to wrap me up in their supposed complex emotional states. They speak and act in goopy mystical exchanges, any depth doesn’t come from within their characters as written but from the plot machinations as needed. Even then, only Dreyfuss as Roy Neary really gets anything juicy to chew on as an actor. The plot is thin, at 135 minutes it feels padded and like it could use a quick edit to tighten up its structure, and the characters are even thinner.

But it just seems such a strange choice to depict the actions of a man who goes dark, becomes obsessed with the possibility of flickering lights in the sky, practically cheats on his wife, and then abandons them to run off with the aliens in the end as one of child-like wonder and spectacle. Terri Garr’s suffering wife is a badly needed dose of reality, and once she exits for saner living situations, Close Encounters goes head-first into the story of a selfish man who abandons his loved ones for a possibility of extraterrestrial life. Having been a child abandoned by a father for dubious reasons, I don’t see much amazement, sympathy, or wonder in that choice.

Nor do I truly see a consistent presentation of the aliens. By turns they are kindly, coming in peace during the climatic moments, yet they also kidnap a child from a frantic mother desperate to keep him locked inside. No reason is given for why the aliens have chosen these people, or this particular time, to reveal their existence, but I’m not sure one could be given that is satisfactory. A moment of doubt or judgment on Dreyfuss’s sanity as a character would be most welcome, but the film plays it sympathetic to him at all times. I will grant Close Encounters a refreshing choice of making the interaction between extraterrestrial life and ours a peaceful one instead of one of violence and planetary conquest.

For all of my problems with the story choices of Close Encounters, one cannot impeach its craft. The special effects are still wondrous after nearly 40 years. The aliens themselves are unimpressive, but the spaceships are idiosyncratic and seem to lack basic human concepts of engineering, always a smart choice. And John Williams offers an emotional highpoint with his score, reminding me that there was a time when he was one of the best in the business long before he began to repeat himself. For me, Close Encounters can’t compare to the thrill-house adventure rides of other Spielberg works like Jaws, Jurassic Park, or Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a terrific bit of movie-making technique, but that’s about all it is for me.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind review

Posted : 5 months, 2 weeks ago on 10 May 2014 02:04

" If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon... play the five tones."

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is marvelous piece of Science fiction wonder, and is my second favorite sci-fi film of all time right behind 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is for sure one of Steven Spielberg greatest film making achievements. Having two feature films under his belt before making Close Encounters one being "The Sugarland Express" a crime/comedy movie and the other "Jaws" a thriller/horror film. Having done this film a sci-fi/drama it shows that even then a young Spielberg was showing off his directing talents.

The films follows Roy Neary(Richard Dreyfuss) a normal guy with a family living a normal life and while on a drive to investigate a blackout occurring around his town and nearby towns. He stops to find out where he is and this is when strange things start to happen around him the mailboxes on the side of the road by him start shaking back and forth, his flashlight turns off, and his car stops working. He even gets burned on one side of his face by the rays of light shinning down on him from the UFO.

From here we see him struggle with what has happened to him as it takes a tole on him and his family to a point to were he might be losing his mind so his wife takes their kids and leaves him. Ill be honest here and say that this does slow the movie down but without leaving a negative effect on it. It is essential to see the breakdown as he tries to figure out what the extraterrestrials left in his mind and why he cant get the shape of a mountain out of his head. Richard Dreyfuss did an amazing performance and i just realized that him and Spielberg have done quite a bit of films together.

The special effects looked stunning and still to this day all the little lights on the UFO's are a wonder to look at. I love that we got different shapes for the UFO and not just the same typical flying saucer type. Some look like cones, some like spheres, and some that look like a little dot also the mothership had a whole city within it i don't think that was done before this but im not 100% on that. Whats even better is that the amazing score by John Williams ties into the special effects especially there at the end were no matter what i always sit in amazement despite having seen it many of times.

Also another great thing that was cool about the movie is that while Dreyfuss is dealing with figuring out the where to go and what to do we see strange things happening around the world like the old planes of flight 19 showing up in the Sonoran Desert and the lost ship the SS Cotopaxi showing up in the Gobi Desert.

Overall i give it a solid 10 Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a Science Fiction masterpiece and is not to be missed by anyone with a ounce of love for its genre or for films in general.




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Review of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 16 August 2012 12:00

Note: The Director's Cut is the version viewed.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is not entertainment. It is torture. Despite Close Encounter's legacy, I cannot recommend it on almost any level. Yes, it has greatly impacted culture and films, but this is not entertainment. This is the destruction of a family, a father slowly turning insane, and an overall traumatizing affair turned into a film. I repeat for a third time, Close Encounters is not entertainment.

The, slightly confusing, story follows a man named Roy, who's life is changed when he sees several UFO flying around his hometown. He becomes obsessed with a strange shape and sculpts it endlessly. He begins to go crazy, and his family is devastated. In a nutshell, that is the plot. And while parts of the story seem somewhat intriguing, they are executed poorly.

A good portion of the film centers around Roy growing crazy and the effect it's having on his family. Do we really need all this screen time focusing on the arguments and stress that his family is experiencing? We get the point, his family is vexed, you don't have to emphasize your point with a sledge hammer!

But watching Close Encounters is not only stressful, but it's also incredibly boring. At over 2 hours in length, Close Encounters is a tedious film. It lacks any kind of excitement (minus in one somewhat crucial scene involving a UFO abduction) and is generally devoid of humor. UFOs are teased to the audience, but never in length until the end.

The slowness of the film may not have been a big deal, had the pay-off been substantial. Alas, it's just as dull as the rest of the film, though the most impressive special effect work occurs here, and it is indeed impressive.

The score is shockingly pedestrian, despite coming from master composer, John Williams. There is actually little music to speak of, excepting the famous five note theme. I've come to expect so much more from Williams, but this is a major disappointment.

I feel little need to waste any more of my life than I already have on Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I despised it and saw it as an exercise in tedium and stress. To see a family fall apart is not entertainment. If other plot points were executed well enough, this wouldn't be a problem, but the whole thing is a big mess. If you want aliens and Spielberg, you'd be better off watching E.T. again.

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Building Mountains Out Of Mashed Potatoes

Posted : 5 years, 6 months ago on 16 April 2009 05:08

My favorite Sci-fi film of all time.
For me, this movie represented the most realistic handling of a story of aliens up to that point in time, (inspiring films like Contact & Signs, both which tried admirably to emulate the "validity" of Encounters). So much so that, at the time, it made it almost believable for me that the idea of extra-terrestrials could be a reality. Also, it was done with such a sense of awe-inspiring hope & beauty, that it almost makes me wish now that they did indeed exist (& maybe aliens do, but that's an entirely different website, altogether).
In this this Speilberg classic, the otherworlders have made contact.
And at first, that makes us humans afraid.
But when we finally come face to face with 'em, we realize that the fear we felt was based more on own insecurites than it was on these bug-eyed long-fingered lil' grey angels from space (though, you have to admit, the fact that they have a knack of kidnapping a few of our jet-fighters, not to mention a kid or two, & then instill mental images of their landing site in own minds, urging us to ruin a plateful of perfectly good mash potatoes, doesn't help much to quell our apprehension of the little buggers).
To this day, even with jaded eyes overwhelmed with modern CGI gimmicktry , the special effects in Close Encounters, combined with their elegant integration to the story's premise,
this film still leaves me with a sense of awe after each viewing.
The kind of awe that I used to feel as kid whenever I would look up all the stars in the sky on clear summer night, & wonder at all of the possibilities that must've been up there.
Mannnn....I wish a UFO would come down & fly my pimp-ass away into the limitless potential of space.


(Sans anal-probes, of course.)




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Spielberg's reputation is well earnt!

Posted : 6 years, 6 months ago on 22 April 2008 03:23

"Have you recently had a close encounter?"


Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a miraculous piece of science fiction cinema, and is unquestionably one of Spielberg's many groundbreaking masterpieces created during his youth.

The film also marks Spielberg's first invasion film, with two other equally impressive invasion films to follow years later. Before Close Encounters, Spielberg had already made a name for himself thanks to his skilful effort in making Jaws two years previously.

Undisputedly among the best science fiction movies of all time, Close Encounters of the Third Kind follows a young father named Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) who lives a general suburban lifestyle with a family and a mortgage. On one night Roy finds himself out driving in the middle of no-where. While in a state of disorientation, Roy experiences a 'close encounter' with a UFO. He strongly believes in what he saw, and what follows is a personal struggle in addition to a descent into madness.

Like most of Spielberg's movies there are lots of absorbing recurring themes; principally, the theme of a neglectful father. Because of Roy's obsession with the strange occurrences with aliens he neglects his family and begins going insane. This is played to perfection by Richard Dreyfuss. The man can act extremely well; he portrays a very likable man despite the characters flaws created by the screenwriter.

The special effects still look absolutely staggering, with alien spacecrafts that look out of this world! The design is flawless and revolutionary, marking one of the first invasion films not to include the trademark 1950's style flying saucers. The use of lights was especially stunning, and the cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond is outstanding.

The impressive visuals are accompanied by John Williams' evocative score. The use of choirs during key scenes creates such an exceptional atmosphere and is perfect for use during scenes that showcase such marvellous special effects.

Steven Spielberg, still a young man, put everything he could into this movie. His incredible vision is realised on screen in an inspirational way. The middle section of the movie is tight, but requires patience on the part of the viewers. Because of the fascinating style it's impossible to feel bored.

Of course this invasion film is not concerned with action or the end of the world, but the beautiful bond that mankind can share with creatures from another world. Many criticise the conclusion for the movie, calling it unsatisfying. The ending is perfect and symbolic. I could not think of a better way to finish the already perfect experience.

Close Encounters is a remarkable science fiction film that cannot be missed. Both critics and audiences adored this movie when it was first released, and its original impact still remains. Watch it without hesitation.



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WOW, Well Worth the Reputation

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 15 April 2007 12:03

This movie has a big reputation for being a classic Scifi movie, and it definatially is. UFOs flying through the skies, people with shared visions, and off course the government coverup. This does go down in the books for a classic, visually stunning, and powerful movie. Spielberg knows how to make a great movie, and I would suggest that if you haven't, see it.

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