Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind ★★★★★

Close Encounters of the Third Kind sits in awe of the unknown. Tonally, it could have been made in the 1950's, a time when science fiction largely explored that explosive moment of first contact. Spielberg, with incredible special effects and realistic, comprehensibly human characters, gives the film a notably magical feel. Not mechanistic, cold or one-dimensional at all, but rather a powerful piece of ethereal, optimistic and emotional cinema; on fire with an impassioned desire to simply connect with anything beyond ourselves. His envisioning of first contact isn't terrifying, but beautiful. The simple, copied hand signals between life-forms is truly magical, the epitome of the purity of basic communication. And finally, most important of all, the landing pad isn't lined with tanks, army men or barbed wire, but rather scientists. Engineers. A young boy. A starry-eyed man. Each species simply yearns to understand one another. No war-mongering, no fear of invasion. Instead, peaceful beings with a profound desire to connect. Roy stepping into the ship is one of the great moments in cinema, not underpinned with ambiguity, uncertainty or fear, but just hope. Hope for humanity's first step into the cosmic unknown. Close Encounters is peak Spielberg and one of the great films of the 70's. Only he can do starry-eyed optimism like this.

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