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Topic: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND - 40th Anniversary re-release Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 30 August 2017 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply


The "official" 40th anniversary, technically, isn't until November (premiere) and December (general release), but CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is being re-released to theaters this Friday, for one week only.

Anyone else catching this?  I need to see this, as it's one of the few notable '70s genre hits that I didn't catch in the theaters at the time (I would have been only 5 years old, and I'm betting my mother thought this would've been too intense)... after this, the only other one I really need to catch on the big screen will be SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (which will hopefully get the same treatment next year).

Fond memories of seeing it on network TV (ABC, I believe) in the early '80s and being blown away by it... I know it's not perfect, but I love the visuals, score, and Richard Dreyfuss.  I just need to experience it in the theaters, finally, after all this time.



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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 5:28am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I was invited to a special press premiere when CEotTK opened in Calgary. A friend who worked for one of the local papers arranged a free ticket for me.

I emerged from the theater wanting my money back!

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 6:03am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS certainly capitalized on the 70s zeitgeist for "UFOs" but, for me, the movie was as dopey as the whole "UFO" phenomenon.

And, yes, I did see it in the theater when it was released, but, no, that didn't make the movie any better. Worse, in fact, as you're stuck there quietly squirming.

Kudos to John Williams, though. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 7:49am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The movie started strong, but quickly degenerated into self indulgence. Why, for instance, did NONE of the UFOs look anything like those reported over the years?

The dumbest part of all, tho, as I have mentioned before, is the Government getting confirmation that aliens had, indeed, been responsible for countless abductions over the centuries, and those self-same aliens were now coming to one particular spot. At NO POINT does anyone question the motives of these kidnappers who, for all we knew, could have been barbecuing all these people.

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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I remember being really wowed by CEof3K when it first came out decades ago (or maybe I just needed a break from seeing STAR WARS over and over again).

Saw it On-Demand a few months ago, and... Found myself fast-forwarding a lot. It had not held up very well when compared with my memories of it, unlike STAR WARS and SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Spielberg goes to some considerable lengths to set up the undeniably scary and dangerous nature of these unearthly visitations and abductions, even of tiny tots[!], so... when the draaaaaaaaaaaaawn-out denouement unfolds the tone-shift to placid awestruck welcoming wonder is... [collapse]
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 31 August 2017 at 5:32pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply


Yes, there are a lot of plot holes & contrivances that don't hold up to too much scrutiny, and Spielberg has admitted over the years that Roy Neary's character arc just doesn't work, but at the same time, I view CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, overall, as an intriguing UFO fable.

If I tried to view it as hard science-fiction, it would drive me nuts... I simply surrender to the wonder & awe, which still has quite the pull for me, since first seeing it when I was about, oh, 8 or 9?



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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 8:10am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

A review on Roger Ebert's website just gave the re release a four star rating, describing it as a masterpiece.

I guess if you enjoy falling asleep in a movie theater...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 8:34am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

CE3K was one of the first of Speilberg's movies to deliberately alter reality in order to tell its story. I mean, sure, the oxygen tank would not really have exploded and killed the shark in JAWS, but most people didn't know that. But when the giant mothership rises from behind Devil's Tower, I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the audience wondering why nobody had noticed the gigantic crater it had been hiding in!
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I saw it last night with someone that wasn't born when the original was released. He had seen the movie before on television and like me had never seen it on the big screen. It wasn't my kind of thing at 9 years old. The most noticeable element in the theater was the sound and use of music/sound for mood or emphasis. Something you just don't notice much on a television broadcast. I enjoy the craftmaship and performances that went into making the movie, but as noted there are some gigantic holes in the story and SFX. It lingers way too much at the beginning and then leaps ahead after Roy connects his visions with Devils Tower via the news broadcast. The strangest point for me now that I am a father is the willingness for a seemingly wonderful dad to leave his wife and kids behind.
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 8:52am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Part of what I dislike about CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and it's something most uncharacteristic about Spielberg's movies, is that it's rather curiously heartless. 

Tangentially, it's frustrating that a talent like Terri Garr was relegated twice in 1977, first in OH, GOD! and then in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, to the role of the worried, bewildered wife of a husband perilously engrossed with an unearthly visitation.
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The most frustrating thing about the story for me is the woman whose little boy is taken. So she makes the journey to Devil's Tower and is a witness to all of the spectacle...but what the hell for? What was the point? Why was Dreyfuss chosen? Why were any Earthlings spirited away for decades?

Dumb, dumb, dumb movie.


Edited by Don Zomberg on 01 September 2017 at 9:27am
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

How many watching the film remembered to look for the upside down R2-D2 miniature gag on the Mother Ship?

Air & Space Museum Link

The footage:

Youtube Link
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 14 post reply


Most likely going tonight, for a 10:15 showing... almost a little too late for my tastes, but really the only day and time I can catch it this week, so... a large Diet Coke will be in order.

To play devil's (tower) advocate for a moment (ahem)... I will say that the last time I watched the film--probably 5 years ago--I was struck my how ultimately unlikable the character of Roy ended-up being.  It's bad enough to willfully separate from your family, and maybe you could have still made an exception for his "higher calling"... but then to add-on that emotional relationship (and maybe something more?), with the Melinda Dillon character--it quite frankly turns him into a prick, in my eyes.

I'll see if my opinion changes any more after tonight!



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Doug Centers
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

"I'll see if my opinion changes any more after tonight!"

...

I doubt it will Shaun.
I've felt that way about the Roy character for years.

Just another aspect of that movie which puts a bad taste in my mouth.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 1:17pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Never seen it. For whatever reason, it didn't appeal to me.

I had a cassette of movie themes (performed by Geoff Love) and the score for that film was on there. That didn't appeal to me, either. And I say that as a John Williams fan.

I like to take a punt now and again and check out a film even if I *think* it might not appeal to me. Sometimes one is pleasantly surprised. With this, though, I'm 95% sure it wouldn't be for me. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 1:27pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

For context, I'll confess that at the time I saw the movie I was totally into the UFO/Bermuda Triangle/Chariots of the Gods mishegoss and it would be several years before I would recover.

So everything was in place in this movie that should have made me fall in love with it, and yet the exact opposite reaction was generated.

YMMV

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Ryan Maxwell
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 1:56pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

As I have never seen this all at once, start to finish, I checked the available seats for the local showing last night about a half hour before it started.  Not one was sold.  I skipped it.  
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 5:14pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Close Encounters is one of those films that most people seemed to love and I never seemed to see what was so special about it (Blade Runner is another, and yes, we have another thread where I've shared my thoughts on that).

I like many of Spielberg's films a great deal, but this and 1941 are ones I have little to no affinity for. It's better than Crystal Skulls, I will give it that.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 8:40pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply


Have to chuckle at Ryan's post... when I walked into the theater tonight, 5 minutes before showtime (I made it to a 6:45 show instead), I was the lone, single occupant of the theater!  Fortunately, about 5 other people joined as the previews started, but that was the grand total for the night!

Anyway, it was enjoyable for me... finally seeing on the big screen (after 40 years!) was quite the treat, and most of the special effects held-up surprisingly well (the alien puppets & costumes, not so much).  I was a little disappointed that the soundtrack wasn't quite as booming as I'd hoped--I really wanted to hear the John Williams score blaring out of the speakers--but I was still able to pick-up on some audio nuances that I'd never heard or noticed before.

All-in-all, I completely understand why some people think the film is wonderful, and why others may think it stinks.  I guess I'm in the middle... there's a lot for me to love in terms of performances, effects work, photography, score and scope.  Aside from a few cute lines here, or some profound lines there, the screenplay is nothing really special, and yes, the story doesn't hold too much water, after a certain point.

I think about the first third is still exceptional, as you can see how Spielberg is setting-up a UFO conspiracy mystery-thriller... however, once it starts to settle into the (overlong) domestic meltdown of the Roy Neary character, you see where the movie starts to lose focus, meander, and become somewhat of a mush of too many different ideas and approaches crammed together, none gelling into a coherent whole.

I won't go into the final act, which others above have noted with some criticisms, but this time around, what struck me is that I think they focused too much story time on Richard Dreyfuss' character only... whether or not he's ultimately likable, he's certainly the most fleshed-out of all the characters, unfortunately, to the detriment of the film--as I think we could have used some more backstory and insight into the wife (Teri Garr) and kids, Melinda Dillon's Gillian, Francois Truffaut's Lacombe, and the Bob Balaban character (who I don't even recall anyone referring to as "Mr. Laughlin" or "David"--but it's there on IMDb!).  All of the other characters besides Roy Neary are only types, and hardly well-rounded.

(Two curious things I noticed, too, this time... the Coca-Cola logo is everywhere--I think Columbia Pictures owned Coke at the time, or vice versa--and the returning WWII vets most definitely do not have vintage-era '40s military haircuts... a bit longer & shaggier than they should have been!)

So anyway, yes, the imperfect nature of the film gets more pronounced for me with each viewing, but not enough yet to completely write it off... still happy to have finally seen it, the way it's meant to be seen.

(Fingers still crossed for a SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE re-release for next year!)



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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 01 September 2017 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply


I was invited to a special press premiere when CEotTK opened in Calgary. A friend who worked for one of the local papers arranged a free ticket for me.

I emerged from the theater wanting my money back!


*****


This made me laugh out loud, so thank you for that, sir. I wasn't a big fan of this film either. As far as Spielberg and aliens go I thought ET the Extraterrestrial was a way better film than this one and saw it multiple times at the theater on its first release.


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