Ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
Magical. Just exquisitely out of this world. He is not new to making fantasies out of cinema at all but once again Steven Spielberg just makes so much magic and brilliance out of this, that it feels like you’re experiencing a magical, quite cinematic experience for the very first time.
Spielberg so uniquely crafts this film with as much realism as he can but in doing so, he also injects the enchanting element of sci-fi into this film as he so expertly does with his sci-fi films that really creates an atmosphere of belief to the fantasies unfolding before our eyes, whilst still elevating it imaginatively to feel so special in how divine and ethereal the experience is.
A lot of the cinematic magic in this articulates in the friendship and collaborative partnership of Spielberg and his long-time composer, the legendary John Williams. Much of the film’s emotion and other-worldly feeling originated from Williams’ superbly extraterrestrial score; one of magisterial scores the all-timer has crafted for Spielberg. There’s so much magic and fantasy in the score that just elevates the film as a whole, and it makes it feel so grand.
One thing I love about this is the scene where the aliens visit the house to abduct the kid, because it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Spielberg doing horror (if i’m not mistaken he’s not done it so far), and it’s one hell of a scene. It’s nervy from start to finish and kept me at the edge of my seat. The lighting, the tone, the pacing, and just how well he coordinated the scene just blew me away.
If that praise is anything, it’s that I’d love for Spielberg to do a horror someday. More so, this is also a plea for him to return to the genre he’s best at, a genre he made his own, a genre he mastered and dominated - sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong, I like Bridge of Spies and The Post but out of his recent films, it was Ready Player One (yes, his slightly despised film) that truly made me appreciate what he was capable of. He’s a great director but his best work is in sci-fi - the genre I grew up with, and the films I grew up with that included the likes of E.T. and now this, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. I’m excited that he’s doing a remake of a very, very famous musical, but I’d love for him to do some more original stuff after this, as well as get back into the genre of sci-fi, or maybe even get out of his comfort zone and direct a horror, like I’ve miserably pleaded for above. Steven Spielberg is easily one of the greats and I’ll always adore his style of directing and his films in general.