Thursday, March 4, 2010

My top movies of all time - #8

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg)
Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a movie I first saw at a very young age and adored immediately. Looking back on it as an adult, I'm not really sure why, since the majority of the movie is made up of Richard Dreyfuss thinking and slowly breaking down mentally (or so he fears). All I know is that I'm just as enthralled by it today, if not more, than I was as a child. As I said in my 2001 review, this is the only other movie that comes immediately to mind that makes me feel awed. The finale, quite possibly my favorite piece of cinema, bowls me over with its visual brilliance time and time again. Strangely for a blockbuster of this proportion, we never find out why the aliens come here, why they choose who they do, or what happens to Dreyfuss at the end of the movie. But, the aliens seem friendly. Whatever their reasons, I'm sure they're positive. Such an approach would never be allowed today, the meaning would not only need to be in the movie, but spelled out in big bold letters and italics, underlined naturally, so that the lowest common denominator in the audience gets the point. Since nobody seems to have the ambition anymore either, I doubt we'd ever get such awe-inspiring visual treats like Spielberg gives us here.

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