Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Director's Cut) (1998)

July 28, 2016

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a wholly remarkable movie about extraterrestrial visitors. If you have not seen this film, you have to, it is worth every minute as this film is a masterpiece.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind follows a utilities worker, Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) who has an encounter with an UFO. After this encounter, he seems to be losing his mind, but slowly he figures out what is going on. The movie also follows two other storylines. One is with a mother (Melinda Dillon) of a child (Cary Guffey) who encounters the aliens also. The second follows a group of scientists and military who are investigating the extraterrestrials. This team is led by a Frenchman, Lacombe (Francois Truffaut). Eventually, all three storylines intersect.

I have seen the theatrical cut of this film before, but that was years and years ago. I hardly remember any of the details of the film so I cannot give a comparison between the theatrical cut and the director's cut. From what I read, the director's cut is a superior cut of the film because the theatrical cut was rushed to theaters because of business interests.

What I love about this film is that the extraterrestrials portrayed are mostly benign and do not want to destroy Earth and its inhabitants. Yes, when aliens come and attack Earth it is more exciting (looking at you Independence Day). But, when aliens come to Earth and don't attack, it allows for something completely different: A sense of wonder -- and Spielberg has imbued this film with a great sense of wonder, especially at the end when the aliens finally make contact.

Spielberg handled the aliens in the perfect way in that therewas no explaining them. They arrive, they release some people that were taken for a ride earlier and take some more people for a ride. We don't know why they are taking people, we don't know what was done to the people, we don't know where people are being taken and we don't know where the aliens come from. Having something left to the audiences imagination is powerful.

While the film is a masterpiece in filmmaking, I do have some quibbles with it:

Quibbles aside, I will reiterate that this is a film to be experienced. It is one of Spielberg's best films.


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