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'Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977' They came, They saw, They made music, They left. 01/03/2016

Figure 1: 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977
This film review will focus on the film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977', this films plot is one that can catch you off guard, especially if you follow the story the whole way through, having a plot twist that left many speechless. The film was Directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Julia Phillips and Micheal Phillips, the music was done by John Williams and the cinematography was done by Vilmos Zsigmond. This film tells a simple story with a really nice plot twist at the end, whilst not being up to the legacy of 'Jaws' it's still a good watch. The design choices made in this film are spot on and having details put in the abduction sequences really sell the atmospheres that the crew were going for, as well as having brilliant visual effects for its time. "An exciting and beguiling act of creative wish fulfillment. "Close Encounters" depicts a sequence of events culminating in authenticated, face-to-face contact between human beings and humanoid extraterrestrials. During the brilliantly sustained finale which documents this contact. Speilberg puts on an enchanting magic show, springing one sensuous and sentimental highlight after another." (G Arnold. 1977)

Figure 2: Aliens
The story for the film is an interesting one at least, unlike 'Jaws' this story seems to have quite a lot less explanation for the current events in the film, if you don't watch from the beginning to the end it can be a little confusing, however that does not hold this films story telling back. Up until now there were a large amount of films which seemed to have either negative outcomes or shocking endings, whereas this film put that concept on its head, kind of. Other films a like 'Alien', 'Jaws' 'The Birds' and even 'Psycho' have at some point had an 'Atrocity to our basic Humanity' put on screen to shock us. The whole build-up with the aliens is very clever because we do not know much about them until the child is abducted. The abduction sequence is also done very specifically, making the viewer feel real fear. The colors used in the room, blood red and alien orange, almost as if they were the colors of a destructive fire. A small child being ripped from its mothers arms to be taken off to do god knows what, doing some awful to the small child would have been this films 'Atrocity to Humanity'. Its built-up too this event but were are never given too much information so we can only speculate on what is going to happen, we are left to assume. We never see the child harmed or even alter in any way, shape or form. "Dreyfuss’ entire life changes as he gets a fixation on an odd mountain-looking shape that, after overbearing and overdone emphasis, turns out to be Devil’s Tower in Wyoming where the UFOs seem to plan an earthly landing. Separately, Dillon’s son is kidnapped by a UFO, giving her a fixation. Spielberg creates an uneasy tension throughout these first 100 minutes, though the tension eventually is more self-defeating." (A.D. Murphy. 1977)

Figure 3: The Mothership
Lets now look at the aliens, the aliens when we first encounter them are these flying orbs of light, indescribable in appearance these flying balls of light are almost magical, defying gravity and flying at amazingly high speeds. There is one characteristic that is missed right from the start of the film and if spotted this characteristic makes the whole film unfold neatly. This is emphasized strongly at the end of the film but these aliens are almost 'Juvenile' or 'Child Like', flying around at high speeds and picking things up and dropping them off at random locations, it actually quite humorous. But the end scene shows this the most, we are re-united with the same ships from earlier and they line up in order, the humans stumped for what to do they decide that the best course of action is to start playing music and this actually works. One of the ships decides to do a side roll looking very silly which makes everyone smile. The mothership however is a lot more in depth, playing a tune in time with the humans takes some build-up but once they both get going the sound is glorious. Even look at the design of some of the aliens, they are like small children gathering round someone in wonder and awe, everything about the alien screams little kid. “Close Encounters” ended more than two hours later, not with a bang, but with a gentle whisper." (R Ebert. 1977)


Arnold, G. (1977) 'Touchdown! The flagship arrives for ‘close encounters’'
In: Washington Post 14 December 1977
[online] At:
(Accessed on 1.3.16)

Ebert, R. (1977) Preview: Close encounters of the Third kind | Roger Ebert’s journal. 
(Accessed on 1.3.16)

Murphy, A.D. (1977) Review: ‘Close encounters of the Third Kind’.
(Accessed on 1.3.16)

Image Biblography

Figure 1: 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977' Poster

Figure 2: Aliens

Figure 3: The Mothership


  1. Hi Tom,

    Interesting review, as usual :)
    Don't forget to put the film date in brackets after the name, otherwise it becomes part of the title - here, for example ...'Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977'.

    You also only need the author's surname after the quote, not the initials too (and the date of course).


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