Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

We've all become pretty used to what movies with aliens will entail. They're angry and usually need our planet, while we're saddled with technology that blows, but armed with the hidden ability to kick green butt when provoked. So, if "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" doesn't resort to explosions, one-liners, and bitch-slapped aliens, then why is it such an exciting science fiction movie?

The answer lies with Steven Spielberg. He's a director who is capable of creating moments of pure cinema, where the visual form relates in a flash what an entire script could struggle to deliver. "Close Encounters" is saturated with imagery that fascinates, terrifies, and utterly consumes the viewer with the desire to discover the secret that's eating away at the on-screen characters. It's just as well too, because the screenplay is cumbersome and frustrating in its attempts to stretch out a tiny plot.

Richard Dreyfuss is a power company technician who investigates a strange blackout only to be subjected to an alien encounter. Over the next few days, he becomes haunted with visions of a strange cone-like mountain. He's not the only one either. Melinda Dillon and her son Cary Guffey are equally affected and soon they and others are drawn to this mountain meeting point, where all will be revealed.

Naturally, the government is only too aware of the aliens' visits and Dreyfuss and Melinda are soon dodging a military/scientific outfit that is also seeking answers. It's a simple enough concept, but the development of it is slow and murky. No matter though, because the final 30 minutes are shot through with trademark Spielberg visual mystery and splendour that makes his brand of cinema perpetually exciting.

Read a review of the DVD.

End Credits

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Cary Guffey, Bob Balaban, François Truffaut, J Patrick McNamara, Warren Kemmerling

Genre: Science Fiction

Original: 1977

DVD: 25 June 2001

VHS: 14 September 1998

Country: USA

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