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Close Encounters of the Third Kind(1977)
In the night skies near his Muncie, Indiana, home, power repairman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) experiences something out of this world. His close encounter sets into action an amazing chain of events that leads to contact with benevolent aliens and their Mothership. This Blu-ray release includes the Original Theatrical Version, Special Edition and the Director's Cut of the movie.
For more about Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray release, see Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on November 9, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Cary Guffey, Bob Balaban
Director: Steven Spielberg
» See full cast & crew
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray Review
Steven Spielberg's Landmark Science Fiction Classic Makes its Debut on Blu-ray
Reviewed by Ben Williams, November 9, 2007
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the very embodiment of a modern film classic. It was hailed as a masterpiece from the day of its theatrical release and continues to inspire audiences and filmmakers alike. As Steven Spielberg's second major theatrical venture, after the hugely successful Jaws, Mr. Spielberg had a lot to prove with this film. Instead of rehashing his previous work and languishing in familiar territory, Spielberg chose to tell a very personal and intimate story that followed the lives of very different people touched by the experience of coming into contact with unexplainable alien phenomena. This Blu-ray release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a milestone for the format as it marks Mr. Spielberg's first foray into the world of high definition media. It is worth noting that this Blu-ray release has been officially sanctioned by Mr. Spielberg and comes with his indelible stamp of approval.
Electrical lineman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) experiences a close encounter of the first kind as he and may others witness a band of UFOs tearing through the night sky. As Roy tries to go about his everyday life, he is tormented by visions of a strange mountain that he cannot understand. Roy's obsession with the meaning of this haunting vision slowly disintegrates his delicate family life. Concurrently, government agents, scientists and ordinary people from around the globe have similar experiences. Driven by this strange desire to find meaning in their visions, this odd assembly of affected people converge on a desolate site where they unknowingly hope to experience a close encounter of the third kind: contact.
One of the truly iconic films of the late seventies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind marks a period in the development of cinema where special effects were included only as a means to further the development of the story. I've always been very fond of the film and have probably seen it in its various incarnations dozens of times, if not more. While those amazing special effects are beautiful to behold, the human drama of the film is what makes it truly magnificent. Each and every character is wonderfully developed and embodies the hopes, desires, emotions and curiosity that exist in all of us. Richard Dreyfuss is perfectly cast as the familiar everyman. Who can't relate to him? He is both sympathetic and selfish as he abandons his family to pursue his obsession. Melinda Dillon (of A Christmas Story fame) is also expertly cast as the frightened mother of a son abducted by aliens. If you've never experienced Close Encounters of the Third Kind, now is the time to do so. There are three versions of the film seamlessly branched on this Blu-ray release. The original theatrical cut (never before released on home video), the Special Edition (created for the theatrical re-release in 1980) and the 1997 Director's cut. Each has its own merits and the folks at Sony have had the foresight to include a fold out map of each version that will allow the viewer to see exactly what the differences are between each cut. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of Mr. Spielberg's greatest achievements and it is a priceless addition to the Blu-ray catalog. I can't recommend this one enough!
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray, Video Quality
Let's get this right out of the way: Close Encounters of the Third Kind is beautiful. This is a film that is very much of its time, with an abundance of film grain and exceptional contrast and color. This stellar Blu-ray edition is, quite simply, the most accurate and balanced version of this film ever seen outside of the editing bay in 1977. Make no mistake, this film is full of glorious, living grain. It swirls around the frame and comes to life in almost every scene of the film. This is how Close Encounters of the Third Kind is supposed to look. It would be a complete travesty if this film had been smoothed out and homogenized for the Blu-ray release. Fortunately, the magicians at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have striven to get this one right and no less an authority than Steven Spielberg has given this startlingly gorgeous transfer his blessing. I was blown away by the film's deep and robust shadow detail. Black levels are consistently outstanding and are never crushed. Flesh-tones are incredibly warm and fine detail is never compromised. This extreme level of detail is what allows the grain structure of Close Encounters of the Third Kind to be so perfectly rendered in this Blu-ray edition. I have never seen high definition video look as much like actual film as this Blu-ray does. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a sterling example of how an older film can shine on Blu-ray. I encourage every interested party to investigate this title first-hand.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray, Audio Quality
I wouldn't have expected the sound mix of Close Encounters of the Third Kind to be as active and enveloping as what is presented on this disc. Sony has served up both DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD lossless tracks for this release. Although I don't have the ability to currently decode DTS HD, I can confirm that the Dolby TrueHD track is extremely strong. Direction effects are selectively used, but remain extremely effective. Bass reproduction is nothing short of phenomenal with an abundance of LFE effects during the various encounters with alien spacecraft. Lossless also benefits this release immensely in the reproduction of dialogue. It is crisp and clear throughout the picture with nary a indecipherable phrase. Sony has done an immaculate job with the audio on this release and I eagerly await the time when I can sample the DTS track.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
-Steven Spielberg: 30 Years of Close Encounters
-Storyboard to Screen Comparisons
-Making of Documentary
-"Watch the Skies"
-A View From Above
For those of you who love supplementary features, the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind contains just about everything you could probably ever want to know about the film. Kicking things off is a special introduction and interview with Steven Spielberg. He reflects upon his career and how it has been shaped by this film. It's a nice inclusion and will hopefully put to rest the unfounded rumors that Mr. Spielberg was somehow not involved in this release. Next up are the extensive storyboard to screen comparisons. This interactive feature includes a wealth of information and shows the visual development of the film. The disc's photo gallery includes a TON of behind the scenes and production photos. You Close Encounters of the Third Kind collectors out there will be ga ga over this. The "making of" documentary goes into quite a good amount of detail from time to time, but can often have the sheen on a promotional piece. Still, there is some good information here. The included deleted scenes are, more often than not, extensions of material already contained in one of the three versions of the film. Regardless, this is full of nice material that nicely fleshes out the story. Lastly is the "A View From Above" interactive fact track. By selecting this option, graphics on-screen will notify you of which cut of the film a particular scene is shown in. For example, if the red and the green icons appear, then you know that the scene you are watching appeared in the 1980 cut as well as the Director's cut of the film. As simple as this sounds, it is a nice feature that ties in directly with the fold out map that is included in the package. All in all, this is the most comprehensive version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind ever released and should be very pleasing to fans of the film!
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a landmark film that helped bring the world out of the more personal filmmaking of the seventies and into the more bombastic special effects oriented eighties. Regardless of whether on not you think that's a good thing, this film should be admired for not sacrificing story in favor of visuals. Like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind manages to be both artistic and personal as well as exciting and technically proficient. It's a rare thing these days to find a film like this - - one that can combine cutting edge special effects with a truly moving story. It's a testament to Close Encounters of the Third Kind's story that it is still enjoyed around the world some thirty years later. For those of you who know and love the film, I'm surely preaching to the choir. For those of you who haven't yet experienced Close Encounters of the Third Kind, take some time, slow things down. Don't expect a hyperkinetic action fest, but look for a more thoughtful film. As the story unfolds, you'll be mesmerized by the riveting series of events. This amazing Blu-ray set is the new standard for special editions in high definition. Picture and audio quality are nothing short of amazing and the supplements are as complete as the possibly could be. I wholeheartedly recommend Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Blu-ray. This is a film that belongs in every collection!
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Other Editions
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Following his mega-hit Jaws, Steven Spielberg filmed an adventure which would become one of his most cherished works. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the history and release of the most successful UFO movie ever produced, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. ...
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