Film Review: Close Encounters of the Third Kind Essay

Society & EntertainmentFilm ReviewWhat do you get when you combine aliens, a little bit of mystery,tasteful comedy, good acting, and award-winning direction? A wonderful filmfrom one of the most celebrated directors of our time, Stephen Spielberg.

“Close Encounters” places Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Barro in roles of regularsuburbanites who both believe to have seen a UFO. The plot thickens and theintrigue begins when these two determined people try to find out what is reallygoing on in their town. Dreyfuss, obsessed with the UFO sightings, nearlydrives his family away, and destroys his home in suburbia because of hisunrelinquished need to answer his own questions.

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Although this is obviously ascience fiction film, Dreyfuss also turns in just the right amount of delightfulcomedy to keep boredom from the audience’s grasp. Spielberg has won a hit withhis heartfelt, intriguing, sci-fi flick that has that patented Spielberg endingwe all have grown to love over the years.

The reason for the greatness of this movie lies firmly in theoutstanding performances by Dreyfuss, Barro, and co-star Terri Garr.

Dreyfusshas a knack for being able to portray an erratic man who in one instant iscompletely normal, and at other times becomes utterly insane. Melinda Barroalso puts in an extremely believable performance as Dreyfuss’s side-kick insearch of her abducted son. But perhaps the most hidden success of this movieis the very underrated actress Teri Garr, who put in her two cents as Dreyfuss’swife. Garr did play a small role, yet it was effective, it produced a gauge ofjust how crazy Dreyfuss was really getting. The wonderful acting carried thefilm over the obvious special effects that Spielberg uses.

This film was pretty much original for it’s time, but once you see thespecial effects, you are instantly reminded of films like E.T., Star Wars andother such science fiction slash space odyssey’s of our time. But since thismovie was made before many of these others, I believe it was just a draw off allof the stories and possibilities of encountering another life form.

“Close Encounters” has a good mixture of character and filmcinematography. Spielberg relies on the actors to make the special effects seemthat much more special. He also uses several very effective camera techniques,like tilt shots to convey the message of power or insignificance, or a series ofjump-cuts to relay the feel of intenseness to the audience. In one particularscene, a chase scene, Spielberg effectively uses jump-cutting between theprotagonists, Dreyfuss and Barro, and the government, who are trying to keepthese two away from a rendezvous with the aliens. During most of the movie theshots were straight up full shots with some interesting close-ups to bringsignificance to character or object, relying on the special effects to wow theaudience.

I believe that Spielberg wanted simply to make the audience think. Hewanted us to ponder the possibilities of an encounter with another life form aswell as to think of the many things that we are naive to. He wanted us torealize that we know very little of what the government does, and far less aboutthe rest of the universe. “Close Encounters” is not another one of those no-brainers that spoon feed everything to you; the film makes you think andformulate your own opinions. For me, this flick was very interesting andextremely worth the time and money I spent to watch it. Hooray for Spielberg!!!Category: Music and Movies

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