Tuesday, September 29, 2015

AFI Top 100, #64: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977)

Movie Stats:
Released 1977 (USA)
American, in English (lots of French, mostly translated; some Spanish & Hindi, mostly not translated)
Director - Steven Spielberg
Stars - Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Francois Truffaut

Plot Summary:
The appearance of visitors from outer space affects the lives of energy worker Roy Neary (Dreyfuss), mother Jillian Guiler (Dillon), and scientist Claude Lacombe (Truffaut), amongst others.

Very minor blue language.

Bad Stuff:
It was confusing. For most of the movie, I didn’t understand what was happening. Nothing is explained.

It didn’t make much sense. For example, [SPOILER] If the aliens really wanted Roy to go with them, why didn’t they just take him? It was shown to be well within their capabilities. Why did they basically make him go insane and drive his family away? Also, why did they want Roy? And why did they terrify Jillian in the process of taking her child? Why take her child at all, seeing as how they gave him back? [SPOILER] The aliens are supposed to be benign but honestly they kind of seemed like dicks to me.

Boring and way too long. I lost interest an hour and a half in. Those last 50 minutes were interminable.

Good Stuff:
Pretty good performance from Dreyfuss.

It was nice to see government guys being portrayed as thoughtful for once. Most movies, it’s: “Something we don’t understand? Shoot it!” Here, they seemed curious rather than bloodthirsty. It was a good change of pace.

The special effects have held up decently.

The Verdict:
I just don’t get this film. What’s the point of it? The aliens come, [SPOILER] make a bunch of people in India sing their tune, steal a little kid, drive a bunch of people crazy trying to figure out why they keep seeing a mountain in their respective heads, show up at said mountain, give back all the people they’ve stolen for the last hundred years or so, including the little kid, and take Roy away with them, the end. [SPOILER] What? I mean, what? I feel like I’m missing something, so if it made sense to you, feel free to explain it to me in the comments. It wasn’t terrible. But I certainly wasn’t wowed. It’s one of those films that you hear a lot about, and that people seem to love, and then you watch it and you’re like, “That’s it?”

I give it 2.5 stars.


Patricia said...

Hmmm. I really liked this growing up, but you do bring up some good points. I don't think I've seen it since I was a teenager, so I'm not the best defense.

But I always think of Richard Dreyfus when I feel like sculpting my mashed potatoes. :-)

balyien said...

Haha, fair enough. And it is always fun to see Dreyfus play crazy.