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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Short plot summary

(There are a number of versions of this movie, the original 1977 release is different to the version seen on TV these days. This review was on the version seen on TV in January 2003.)

War planes, and then a ship, are discovered in the middle of a desert. How did they get there?

Our hero, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus), while out in his truck, is 'encountered' by a UFO which switches off his engine. It then flies off. Later that night he sees UFO's flying overhead.

When Roy returns home he has a sun tan on one side of his face... his young family don't believe him and he starts acting strangely.

What our panel of critics thought

"Richard Dreyfus acts strangely and then sanely with equal gusto."

"A UFO lovers dream of a movie - however the thing that annoys most is that a Frenchman (speaking in French!) plays such a pivotal role - this is completely unbelievable. I want my money back!"

"This is not the version I saw at the pictures in 1977. I remember the ending well: a small white van came down from the sky and one single alien came out with a lit match."

Please tell me the ending

Tiny tot, Barry Guiler, goes missing, and this time for good. His mother, Gillian, and Roy, start to obsess over a tall rock type structure: she draws it, he builds it in his living room (the family have since left him).

TV news show the rock and it draws everyone to it. But when our heroes get there security is tight, and animals seem to be dying. Our heroes put on gas masks and break through the road blocks. They climb the rock and behind it they find a landing strip.

A UFO makes contact and returns personnel (who have not aged) from the plane and ship seen at the beginning of the movie - Barry also walks out into the arms of his mother.

Roy decides to go back with the aliens and he is last seen entering the ship.

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

Oh, sheer hysteria from Mr Dreyfus, and, perchance, a French man who is not an oaf... A spell binding motion picture of the out there kind. However, after a moment or two of rock building in the living room, his hysteria is controlled so as not to screw up the plot too much...

A borderline classic.

The child's acting is very impressive and the spectacle of the ending memorable. If you saw this movie when they brought it out in 1977 and have not seen it since, have another look: they've finished it now and it is much more impressive.

Other comments

Always high up in movie top 100's, this movie is a bit of a disappointment. The acting is a little over-shouty, and the madness in the main character miraculously clears up when the plot needs it. The child actors are superb however, and the special effects good.

The 5-bar melody, used for contact, is now part of the music of world movie culture, however the hand signals that went with it have been conveniently forgotten, apart from by a few of the older TV game show hosts...

Not a terrible movie, but no longer an all time great either. If over-exuberant-shouty acting peppered with plot improbabilities annoys, give this movie a miss.

Date of Review

January 21st 2003.

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