CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray + Digital ULTRAVIOLET] [UK Release] We Are Not Alone!
Steven Spielberg's classic film is back on this Blu-ray Disc, which includes all three versions of the sci-fi blockbuster. Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experiences a close encounter of the first kind and witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky. After this life-changing event, the inexplicable vision of a strange, mountain-like formation haunts him. He becomes obsessed with discovering what it represents, much to the dismay of his wife and family. Meanwhile, bizarre occurrences are happening around the world. Government agents have close encounters of the second kind and discovering physical evidence of extra-terrestrial visitors in the form of a lost fighter aircraft from World War II and a stranded military ship that disappeared decades earlier only to suddenly reappear in unusual places. Roy continues to chase his vision to a remote area where he and the agents follow the clues that have drawn them to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind contact.
FILM FACTS: Awards and Nominations: 50th Academy Awards® including Best Direction; Supporting Actress for Melinda Dillon; Visual Effects; Art Direction for Joe Alves, Daniel A. Lomino, Phil Abramson; Original Music Score; Film Editing, and Sound for Robert Knudson, Robert Glass, Don MacDougall and Gene Cantamessa. The film's only win was for Vilmos Zsigmond for Cinematography. The Academy Awards® honoured the film's sound effects editing with a Special Achievement Award for Frank Warner.32nd British Academy Film Awards: Close Encounters Won: Best Production Design. Nominated: Best Film, Direction, Screenplay, Actor in a Supporting Role for François Truffaut, Music, Cinematography, Editing, and Sound.
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren J. Kemmerling, Roberts Blossom, Philip Dodds, Cary Guffey, Shawn Bishop, Adrienne Campbell, Justin Dreyfuss, Lance Henriksen, Merrill Connally, George DiCenzo, Amy Douglass, Alexander Lockwood, Gene Dynarski, Mary Gafrey, Norman Bartold, Josef Sommer, Michael J. Dyer, Roger Ernest, Carl Weathers, F.J. O'Neil, Phil Dodds, Randy Hermann, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, David Anderson, Richard L. Hawkins, Gene Rader, James Keane, Dennis McMullen, Cy Young, Tom Howard, Galen Thompson, John Dennis Johnston, Bennett Wayne Dean Sr. (uncredited), Basil Hoffman (uncredited), J. Allen Hynek (uncredited), Monty Jordan (uncredited), Shay McLean (uncredited), Stephen Powers (uncredited) and Howard K. Smith (uncredited). Now for an obscure piece of trivia: if you have very sharp eyes, be sure to look for a hitchhiker on the bottom of the "Mothership" as it passes over Devil's Tower in the climax of the film. Look closely and you can see none other than R2-D2, the little droid hero from ‘Star Wars’ which also was released in 1977 and directed by one of Steven Spielberg's pals, George Lucas.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producers: Clark L. Paylow, Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips
Screenplay: Steven Spielberg, Jerry Belson (uncredited), John Hill (uncredited), Hal Barwood (uncredited) and Matthew Robbins (uncredited)
Composer: John Williams
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [CinemaScope]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Swedish and Turkish
Running Time: 135 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: When ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind' was first released, Steven Spielberg asked Ray Bradbury, the legendary author of such works as “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451,” "How do you like your film? Close Encounters wouldn't have been born if I hadn't seen ‘It Came from Outer Space' six times when I was a kid." Ray Bradbury had written the original treatment for that 1953 film. Indeed, Close Encounters and other Steven Spielberg works would seem to owe a lot to author Ray Bradbury. According to film historian and critic Joseph McBride, Jean Renoir compared Steven Spielberg's storytelling in this picture to Jules Verne and Georges Meliés. At its heart, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is a simple fantasy that depicts the first formal meeting of humans and aliens. Although the film certainly features the global point of view and shows how governments might respond to this event, Spielberg wisely took the more intimate approach to tell the story.
All three versions are presented in brand new 1080p transfers in the movie's 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio. The transfer is splendid to say the least and is richer in colour than ever. The black levels and contrast are simply amazing and will leave you speechless, while the colours are incredibly rich and saturated. The vibrant lights of the alien spaceships have never been so lucid. It is an incredible feast for the eye adding a completely new dimension to the film.
‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ , Steven Spielberg's follow-up to his smash hit ‘Jaws’ , was a risky project because this science fiction foray was very different from the alien encounter movies of the 1940s and 50s that little Stevie Spielberg grew up on. It was also infinitely more expensive than the low-budget fare that dominated much of the science fiction genre in the sixties until the release of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ . Infused with a post-Watergate paranoia and featuring a middle-class, family-man hero who grows increasingly obsessive in the course of the film, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ broke new ground for the science fiction genre in its exploration of the UFO phenomena. No longer just concerned with the true intentions of visitors from outer space, it was the government's intervention and ulterior motives that became the cause for alarm. In earlier science fiction film classics such as ‘The War of the Worlds’  and ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ , government leaders might make wrong decisions, but they were rarely depicted with such suspicion and disdain as they are in Close Encounters.
Roy Neary [Richard Dreyfuss] works as a technician for an Indiana power company and lives with his wife Ronnie Neary [Teri Garr] and three kids. He seems like a nice enough guy, but clearly the bloom is off the rose and he's living a fairly drab existence. All of that changes when some force causes electricity to cut off all across his area. After he's sent to work on the situation, he comes quite close to some alien vehicles, and the experience leaves him changed, to say the least. From then on, he feels a nagging urge to find meaning in odd shapes, a desire that eventually leads him to apparent semi-madness.
However, that's not the case, and before too long Roy Neary and others, including Jillian Guiler [Melinda Dillon], whose son Barry Guiler [Cary Guffey] has been kidnapped by the aliens and figure out what it is they need to do, and he heads out west for... well, he's not sure what. Nor are we, but it's a terrific ride as Roy and Jillian have to evade oppressive government forces to reach their ultimate goal.
Is `Close Encounters of the Third Kind' a flawless film? No, it has its own problems at times. For example, I always thought the aggressive way in which the aliens came to get Barry Guiler, seemed to be at odds with their apparently-gentle nature; the abduction makes sense within the tone of the film because it adds excitement and intrigue, but it didn't really seem logical to me.
Nonetheless, the film functions at a consistently high level from start to finish and offers an extremely well-executed fantasy. The acting is top-notch from Richard Dreyfuss down the line. Through movies like Jaws and ‘The Goodbye Girl,' another 1977 offering, and one for which he earned an Academy Award for Richard Dreyfuss became moderately pigeonholed as a sarcastic, self-centred sort of character. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind' showed that he could easily portray other roles, and he brings off the middle-class dreamer in Roy Neary very nicely.
Steven Spielberg paced the film extremely well, and though the effects have aged, they still hold up after almost a quarter of a century. It achieves a level of beauty and tenderness rare in the genre, and it also combines well-integrated humour, drama and action. As a whole, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind' remains a totally fabulous piece of work that deserves to be included along with the greatest films ever made.
Steven Spielberg reworked the film again in 1998. This 137-minute "Director's Cut" combines different aspects of the 1977 and 1980 versions. Many think this is the best edition of the film, and I might agree, but some good bits from the 1977 film fail to appear. The introduction to the Roy Neary's uses the scene from the 1980 cut, which is more abrupt but it adds some nice exposition to the family, so it's a draw. Other 1980 snippets are integrated, such as "Roy's shower" and the expedition to the Gobi Desert.
The film's climax featuring the arrival of the "Mothership" was shot in a dirigible hangar in Mobile, Alabama and was six times the size of a normal Hollywood sound stage. There were also extensive sequences shot at Devil's Tower in Wyoming as well as in India, which required crowd sequences involving thousands of extras. When the film finally went into release, it became one of Spielberg's most financially successful films and again it earned Eight Academy Award® nominations, winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography.
The 1998 version cuts some segments that appeared in both the 1977 and 1980 versions, and these are the least positive changes. We lose the cool scene in which Roy looks at a pillowcase and states, "That's not right." We also don't get some shots of Roy at the power plant; I liked these, but I can't say they're as painful to lose as the pillowcase. The alterations don't hurt the movie terribly, but I wish Spielberg had kept these scenes in the film. When I consider the three versions, I find it hard to choose between the Theatrical Edition and the Director's Cut.
Blu-ray Video Quality – `Close Encounters of the Third Kind' appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Very few concerns emerged during this terrific transfer. Sharpness usually seemed to be excellent. A few wide shots presented some very slight softness, but that was about it, and those tended to occur either due to effects or depth of field issues. The vast majority of the film offered strong delineation and clarity. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no signs of edge enhancement. I also found no source flaws. The source material could be grainy at times, but no artificial defects appeared. Colours looked quite natural and distinct. The film didn't feature a particular bright palette except for the hues generated by the alien crafts themselves, and I felt these tones appeared clear and vivid. Black levels occasionally looked a little too pale, but they usually appeared appropriately deep and dense, and shadow detail seemed clean and nicely heavy without excessive opacity. The smattering of slightly soft shots created my only minor complaints here, and they weren't enough to knock my grade below an "A." I felt very pleased with this transfer, as it often looked absolutely exceptional.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The soundtrack of `Close Encounters of the Third Kind' displayed some minor problems but they nonetheless worked quite well for a film of this vintage. Close Encounters offers both 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 5.1 Dolby Digital TrueHD surround soundtracks. The track featured a surprisingly broad and engaging sound-field. The front speakers offered a nice sense of ambience; in addition to John Williams' score, they added a great deal of unique effects, all of which seemed to be well placed within the environment. The elements also blended together neatly and smoothly. Some directional dialogue occurred, and while it could seem somewhat tentative at times, for the most part I felt that the speech appeared to come from the appropriate locations. There is a compressed feel to the film's dynamic range that, while not crippling, is definitely noticeable. There's never that truly expansive feel to the mix you get with a modern soundtrack. Dialogue sounds constrained, and if still understandable, it's never as distinct in the mix as I would have liked. Likewise, John Williams' score is nicely spread out in the sound field, but never quite soars in terms of fidelity. Surrounds are generally active, though again that's only usually when a UFO appears. Sounds in the rears are usually pretty easy to localise, so there is never that seamless "wall of sound" that you usually get with the best high-res audio presentations. That said, even if 'Close Encounters' is not consistently demo material, when it delivers, watch out. There are moments in the film that genuinely rattle the rafters.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: A View from Above: Replicating the printed version of the technical timeline outlined above, activate this feature and, depending on which version of the film you're watching, color-coded notations will appear that describe the various changes made to that particular cut. Again, very cool and another nice addition to this brilliant Blu-ray disc.
Finally, 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' is still so etched in the popular consciousness that it's hard to believe that it's been well over thirty years since it first hit theatres. Although the film has been released in a myriad of different versions, which are all presented in full with this Blu-ray, whichever version you personally prefer, and the film remains an uplifting experience that's an absolute landmark of the science fiction genre. I've never seen the film look or sound better, and sadly the extras are a bit of a disappointment with this Limited Edition SteelBook. But to top it all, this Limited Edition SteelBook packaging design is very impressive, with a beautiful embossed steelbook, and you've got a great release that easily earns its brilliant price tag. Mr. Steven Spielberg, I'm ecstatic that you've finally jumped into high-definition with 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' and I can't wait to see what's next up your sleeve. But until then, I am so honoured and proud to have this in my Blu-ray Collection and especially the Limited Edition SteelBook that again is such a beautifully embossed designed looking item and despite the lack of extras, it was still my preferred choice. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom