Close Encounters of the Third Kind 2.0 stars

Close Encounters of the Third Kind movie poster

Steven Spielberg surpasses all of his sci-fi forerunners in the only way he knows how in material things. He has costlier, more spectacular special effects, including some really wonderful nighttime skies; he has bigger and brighter spaceships; he has louder sound effects and background music; and he has the largest number of world-renowned cinematographers ever assembled on one list of credits (six in all Vilmos Zsigmond, William Fraker, Douglas Slocombe, Laszlo Kovacs, John Alonzo, and Frank Stanley). But basically his movie is just a jerrybuilt 1950s-style invaders-from-space story, a Red Planet Mars swollen up almost beyond recognition by 1970s inflation. It's also a somewhat two-faced movie, which, all along the way to its uplifting messianic ending, tries to menace you into a nervous wreck with noisy, superficial, and usually superfluous thrills. Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Terri Garr, and Francois Truffaut. 1977.

Duncan Shepherd

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