In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
Two parallel stories are told. In the first, a group of research scientists from a variety of backgrounds are investigating the strange appearance of items in remote locations, primarily desert regions. In continuing their investigation, one of the lead scientists, a Frenchman named Claude Lacombe, incorporates the Kodály method of music education as a means of communication in their work. The response, in turn, at first baffles the researchers, until American cartographer David Laughlin deciphers the meaning of the response. In the second, electric company lineman and family man Roy Neary and single mother Jillian Guiler are among some individuals in Muncie, Indiana who experience some paranormal activity before some flashes of bright lights in the sky, which they believe to be a UFO. Roy becomes obsessed with what he saw, unlike some others, especially in some form of authority, who refuse to acknowledge their belief that it was a UFO in not wanting to appear crazy. That obsession ...Written by
Maurice White of the band Earth Wind And Fire cited the movie as inspiration for the writing of the group's hit song Fantasy. See more »
Laughlin identifies the signal being received as representing a Latitude and a Longitude for a rendezvous location. He identifies the first number as a longitude, as it is above 90 degrees. In professional geography; which the missing pilots and, therefore, the aliens must have known, coordinates are given with Latitude first. See more »
Near the end of the credits it starts to reads as follows: "During the filming of all animal sequences, H.L. EDWARDS, Veterinarian of Gillette, Wyoming, was in attendance at all times to aid the filmmakers and the anesthetist in proper treatment of the animals used, and at no time were the animals harmed or mistreated in any way." See more »
A final version of "Close Encounters" was released to video in 1998 (and then on DVD in 2001) as "The Collector's Edition". It is basically Spielberg's final 137-minute re-edit of the original version plus some sequences from the 1980 "Special Edition". It contains.....
The Neary family's alternate longer introduction.
The 5-second flyover of the power company truck.
The scientists discovery of the freighter in the Gobi desert is included.
The scene where Roy Neary argues with his wife and locks himself in a shower.
The Air Force base press conference scene has been restored from the original version.
The scene where Roy throws dirt, plants and bricks through his kitchen window has been restored from the original version.
This version does not contain the mothership ending from the "Special Edition", and retains the original 1977 end title music.
Strong emotional core that avoids Rockwell-esque sentimentality
When the whole area suffers a full blackout, electrician Roy Neary is called out to service some poles suspected of being down. Sitting in his truck trying to find directions he is suddenly caught in a bright light and the electric's on his truck fail. Shortly it passes and he sees a craft pass overhead. At the same time nearby a woman pursues her young son who has wandered out in search of the lights that have been calling to him. Both adults are left wanting to know the truth and filled with half-ideas and images that haunt them when Gillian Guiler son is taken, this becomes even more important to them. Meanwhile the military, led by investigator Claude Lacombe uncover planes and ships that have been missing for decades and uncover hidden codes and signals in the mysterious crafts.
I am currently ploughing my way through Speilberg's Taken on BBC2 so I thought I'd give this classic another view just to remind myself how good Speilberg and aliens can be. The plot is perfect for any UFO nut the government are behind everything and know of everything. The story unfolds really well the three main stories complimenting each other and giving the film a sense of pace. The strand with Lacombe following events all round the globe is the least personal (and thus least involving) but it is enticing us for the climax of the film. Neary's soul searching maybe does go on a little too long but the emotion in the family situation is intense and his frustration and sense of confusion is very real. Although the thrid strand has less screen time the abduction of the child is a powerful scene and the emotion is well brought out.
The special effects are very good but the glue of the film is the emotional telling. This is Speilberg doing well he never really gives into his American Apple Pie style sentimentality and the film keeps moving along and has a real emotional heart to it. The climax of the movie always sort of messes me up and I find it best not to question it's logic on any level for fear of holes opening up all over it but it does have a sense of childlike wonder to it, which I guess Speilberg was trying to get across.
As usual Dreyfuss does well under Speilberg and he is mostly responsible for keeping the emotion in his character realistic without being all syrupy and sickly. Truffaut is OK but it's impossible to see him as anyone but Francis Truffaut and his character suffers as a result. Garr and Dillon are both strong female characters for different reasons and the support cast are generally very good (including a good handful of the Dreyfuss family).
Overall this film never gets me as one of the greatest sci-fi's of all time, but it is certainly a very good film that takes `real' people as it's driver and not flashy effect shots. That `Taken' seems to be slipping into Norman Rockwell type mawkishness is good enough reason to revisit CE3K.
30 of 53 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this