Movie Review

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

MPAA Rating: PG for some intense sci-fi action, mild language and thematic elements

Reviewed by: Brian Wolters
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
8 to Adult
Genre:
Sci-Fi
Length:
2 hr. 17 min.

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Franois Truffaut, Teri Garr | Director: Steven Spielberg | Producers: Clark Paylow, Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips | Writer: Steven Spielberg | Released By: Columbia

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It has a place in my heart that no other movie can have. I have always been interested in stories about UFO’s (even though I don’t really believe in them) and this was the first movie I ever saw in the theaters that dealt with them. When viewing this film back in the late 70’s, I was just mesmerized in a way that no other movie has been able to achieve again. The new DVD re-release is simply a must have!

The story revolves around several people who have seen a UFO. These individuals are driven to find the answers behind these sightings all the while exercising artistic abilities that they have never been compelled to use before. The story also follows a secret government group as they themselves examine the evidence of these sightings. The infamous last of the film, in which music is used as a way of communication, is simply brilliant. It is an illustration that music is indeed the universal language along with math.

The story, the music and the magic surrounding this movie are very powerful. The “hidden” subplot of the UFO’s bringing out the artist in the people who saw them is very clever and an important part of the film.

The film is almost void of any reference to God and Christ. There are several moments of profanity, but not as much as the films of today. When watching the film, those who are not Biblically sound need to keep in mind that the origin of life on Earth comes from God and not “space aliens.” Other than that, there is no other offensive material in the film.

The DVD version is really the 4th cut of the film. It contains all of the scenes that Spielberg wanted and cut a few out (the pillow scene and most importantly, the inside of the mothership scene). The result is a nice, tighter film. The DVD extras, which include a long documentary, are excellent.

No other “UFO” movie with the exception of “Contact” has ever come close to the majesty of this movie. I am looking forward to showing this movie to my kids and my sister’s kids when they are old enough. I think everyone needs to see this movie!

Year of Release—1977 (with subsequent re-releases)

Viewer Comments
Positive—I would recommend this film only for grounded and mature believers. The existence of life on other planets is controversial among Christians, especially as the Bible does not mention any such extraterrestrial life. One could read the film as having a very naturalistic worldview. I choose to enjoy it as piece of fantasy, a journey into the imagination, asking what if we could meet other beings from another world, what would it be like? This film, as the reviewer says, has little content beyond profanity that will offend. I did not feel comfortable letting my children see it, as it does have a scene where a child is abducted that is somewhat scary. But, for adults, this is a well-made, somewhat cerebral piece of sci fi/fantasy that hold up remarkably well all these years later.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
-Kevin, age 31
Comments from young people
Positive—Steven Spielberg has made another awesome, classic, sci-fi movie. The acting, the effects, the twist, the story, it is all fantastic! Yet, this is a great movie with a not so great ending. They have a lot of things that happen in the movie that they don’t explain at the end. I don’t know if they are going to make a sequel or what, but I think it needs a better ending. The swearing should have made it PG-13, because there were at least 4 GD’s and 2 S’s. No sex or violence. Otherwise, it is a great movie.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
-Davie Powers, age 14