Thursday, May 23, 2013

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Review:


Steven Spielberg is known by many audiences to be one of the best modern day directors. His ability to set himself up with great casts, resounding music, intellectual stories and top-notch special effects seems to come natural. So it actually is a surprise for me to say that his third theatrically released film did not entice me at all. I found a couple of good things to give credit for but everything else is tiresome and confusing because of how bad the writing is.

A young Richard Dreyfuss
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is the story of a man who happens to get a glimpse of a UFO and then decides to make it his goal to be able to see them again in person. Cast, as this ordinary man is Richard Dreyfuss who has worked with Spielberg two years before in another blockbuster called Jaws (1975). Here, Dreyfuss starts his character out like any other normal person but soon becomes absolutely bizarre in a sense that I'm not sure if anyone will understand what's happening to his character. And Spielberg wrote the screenplay! What's going on here? And what's with the Fran├žois Truffaut's character? He can speak English but he also needs an interpreter? Ugh...

I also got confused as the film was getting close to its end because it seem liked there was a secret love interest but it never was explained. How did Spielberg miss all these loopholes? Another aspect of the film that frustrated me was the dialog. It's not that the dialog was too simplified or overly complex - its placing was off. By placing I mean when people are trying to talk, there's always something else that is competing with it. Someone is trying to explain something but it's too hard to hear because there's a storm louder than hell. Or when Dreyfuss' character is talking on the phone, but can't be heard exactly what he's saying because a TV is on in the same room and you don't know which thing to focus on. Come on guys.

The lighting from the UFOs
There were even parts of the movie that was never explained. When an individual first sees the UFOs they end up getting this red burn on their body. It was never explained what it meant, what the possible side effects are or how it was gotten rid of. What is going on with this story telling?! Even more shocking was how bad and absent composing legend, John Williams' music was throughout the film. In some places of the movie, it was closer to sounding like a horror film with sporadic volume increases and scraping violins.

The only credits I will give are the background scenery and special effects. I really like the scenic backgrounds, especially since it is in widescreen, the shots look great. And for 1977, yes, the special effects are great too. The lighting arrangements of the UFOs were mesmerizing. However, that's all I enjoyed. I am still truly shocked to how bored and confused I became with this Spielberg film.

The shots look great but that's it. John Williams' music is random as well as uninspired and the screenplay was written very poorly.

Points Earned --> 3:10

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