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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Close Encounters of the Third Kind » User review

My kind of encounter

  • Jun 17, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+3
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
Written and Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr and Francois Truffaut
 
Interpreter: He says the son came out last night. He says it sang to him.
 
Inexplicably, I have always been intrigued by alien life. I have never seen a UFO; nor have I never been abducted. But boy oh boy do I love watching movies where these things happen to other people. One of the greatest examples of the genre is Steven Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Made in 1977 with a reported budget of $2.5 million, Spielberg created a giant blockbuster with all the awe and excitement that is expected to be there but with a few surprises as well. Just beneath the jaw-dropping special effects that still hold up against anything put out today, is a quiet level of introspection the slowly comes to a full boil by the time these encounters truly get close.
 
From the very start, Spielberg plants the seeds of wonder and curiosity in the viewer’s mind. An elaborate sandstorm is whipping across the screen and a bunch of men begin to arrive at different intervals. They don’t all speak the same language and ask vague questions with impossible answers like, “Are we the first?” Amidst all this chaos is the key to Spielberg’s success, the hook. The action is so disorienting and so clearly of great importance given the urgency in everyone’s tone, that one cannot help but want to know just what on earth in going on. Suddenly there are planes in a dessert, found after 30 years of being missing but there are no signs of any pilots and all of this is somehow good news for the French. The need to know where all of this is going is intense.
 
Before you know it, we are on a farm in Indiana. The imagery is so iconic, it is almost a close encounter all unto itself. There is something unsettling in the night sky. You can sense that something is coming, something never seen before. A child runs into the night but he doesn’t know why or where he is going, just that he must. Suddenly, power everywhere is going out and an electrical lineman, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), is called out to investigate. Instead of figuring out the power problem, he comes into contact with something way bigger. Roy’s encounter is the closest we see and he is not the same after it’s done. The sounds, the colours, the lights, they all haunt him after the fact and his fascination becomes obsession, one that he is powerless to calm.
 
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is a grand experience and irrefutable evidence that Spielberg is one of the greatest film directors of all time. Not only does he know where he is going and how to get there, he also has an uncanny ability to inspire an immense amount of child-like enthusiasm in his audience. In this case, he divides his characters into believers and non-believers. If you choose to ignore the obvious, that we are not alone in this universe, then you check out of the film early. If you do believe, or at least if you want to, the desperate need to understand and get closer to the encounters themselves is infectious. Adult or no, your desire is innocent and simple. It is almost as if we aren’t really chasing aliens at all. Rather, we gravitate uncontrollably toward believing in our own boundless imaginations.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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June 17, 2011
Well said. I've seen this film a few times. I have not looked at mashed potatoes the same since, LOL.
June 26, 2011
I so wanted a mountain of mashed all to myself when I saw that scene. Thanks!
 
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More Close Encounters of the Third ... reviews
review by . May 29, 2000
Pros: A Hollywood classic     Cons: none     One of the last really great movies to filter out of Hollywood. I don't care how they did their special effects and frankly I don't wanna know. I get really ticked when they show those ‘ how we did it ‘ specials, preferring to believe that dinosaurs still exist and space ships really fly.      Surely 90% of the people alive today are familiar with this epic negating my need to outline the story, …
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Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #23
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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Wiki

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 science fiction film directed and written by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban and Cary Guffey. Close Encounters tells the story of Roy Neary, an Indiana electrical lineman, and his encounter and obsessions with unidentified flying objects. The plot further develops due to the presence of the United States government and their scientific researchers.

Close Encounters was a long-cherished project for Spielberg. In late-1973, he developed a deal with Columbia Pictures for a science fiction film. Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins and Jerry Belson contributed with script writing work, alongside Spielberg. In the end Spielberg was given solo writing credit.

Filming began in May 1976, where problems occurred such as the film's production budget, tropical cyclones and the shooting schedule. Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens. Close Encounters was released with financial and critical success. The film was reissued in 1980 as Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition. The film received numerous awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, 32nd British Academy Film Awards, the Saturn Awards and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute. Close Encounters has also led to the development of the unproduced film Night Skies.

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