Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 40th Anniversary Gift Set
Steven Spielberg is a legend in cinema, but when it comes to science fiction, he’s really known for TWO legendary films. E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I reviewed E.T. the other week, and it still is one of my favorite films of all times (Sorry Todd), but 5 years before that Spielberg famously produced one of the most beloved alien movies of all times in the form of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Each film is wildly different from each other, but beloved by many for very different reasons. E.T. was the kids adventure movie about a lovable space alien, while Close Encounters was the much more adult film that focused in on the wonder and amazement of meeting an ACTUAL extra terrestrial. If I had to make a rough comparison, I would have to say that Close Encounters mirrors many of the same pacing methods and introspective qualities as 2001: A Space Odyssey did.
With this set, Sony went back to the negatives and created a 4K master for this 40th anniversary set, and even gave it a small theatrical run. In all reality this is the same as the really incredible 30th anniversary set 10 years ago, just with a boost to 4K for the regular version, and some really neat packaging for the pimped out uber awesome edition. We get all three versions of the films (Theatrical, Special Edition and Director’s cut), and the little booklet of information and pictures that was available in the 30th anniversary release.
It’s amusing to see two giant films in the sci-fi genre released in the same year. Spielberg’s passionate tale of benevolent space men coming to visit an awe struck populace was up against indie film maker George Lucas and his space schlock, Star Wars. Spielberg’s movie is probably the more intelligent and well done film of the two, but we really don’t have to say anything about Star Wars and the incredible franchise success that it became. Honestly, while I love both, I have a hard time choosing between them as more enjoyable. I also have to say that I think Close Encounters is just SLIGHTLY over rated, and not one of THE greatest sci-fi films ever made. Is it good? Yes. Is it great? Mostly likely. But I just have a hard time ENJOYING it as much as the 5/5 start ratings it has accumulated over the years have guilted me into trying to feel.
Close Encounters is considered one of the most important films of the 1970s, and for good reason. Back when it was made most of the science fiction that came out of the era was schlocky pulp fiction with alien vampires, monster movies and the like. Very few were actually focused and serious in nature. While Star Wars was pulp at the core, it gained a life of it’s own and shot off into stardom, while Close Encounters very delicately probed at the culture of the time and the idea of ACTUALLY meeting an extra terrestrial. Back in the 1970s we were all obsessed with science fiction, whether that be in writing or in film, as the moon landing had taken place so recently and we were all looking to the stars in wonderment and excitement. Spielberg masterfully taps into that wonderment and excitement as he maps out how an encounter might play out with a benevolent species. There’s all of the classic abduction roles, but everything is THROUGH the eyes of us as a confused species. Giant lights in the sky, flashing flaying saucers, and the feeling of tense excitement at what would become one of the most legendary first contact films is incredibly palpable.
On the same note, Spielberg’s magnum opus is still a bit cheesy in modern times. The fun adventure world of E.T. allows it to age much better than the naive viewing of extra terrestrial contact that his first Sci-fi movie explored. Things can play out a little TOO slow at times, and the film’s special edition was really botched when Sony wanted Spielberg to show the interior of the mothership, decreasing the tension and wonderment with cheap special effects. It’s still a great movie, but for someone how hasn’t seen the film since the 30th Anniversary edition came out, I find it hasn’t aged as well as it could have.
Rated PG by the MPAA
• ALL-NEW: "Three Kinds of Close Encounters" Featurette
• NEW interview with Director Steven Spielberg on the legacy of the film, as well as new interviews with directors J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) about the impact of Close Encounters.
• ALL NEW: "Steven's Home Movies & Outtakes"
• Rare never-before-seen home movies & gags from the set of Close Encounters.
• Close Encounters of the Third Kind Making-of Documentary
• "Steven Spielberg: 30 Years of Close Encounters" Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• 1977 Featurette "Watch the Skies"
• Storyboard to Scene Comparisons
• Extensive Photo Gallery-
• "A View From Above"
• Theatrical Trailers
This review is a bit unique as instead of adding in screenshots of the film, I’m focusing in on the packaging. This is due to the fact that the 40th anniversary special edition (there are two, this version and a bare bones 3 disc set) and my focus was on highlighting those cool packaging details that make the special edition version a good buy. For those who are wanting to upgrade from the 30th anniversary, the decision will come from the new 4K transfer, and in that I have to give it a solid thumbs up. The new release looks different with HDR, and while it’s not LEAPS and BOUNDS better than the 30th anniversary Blu-ray, It’s a worthy upgrade in my humble opinion. The cool swag that comes with this set appeases the special edition nerd in me, and the two extra features that come with are pretty neat (though not wildly new). Still a great watch for Sci-fi fans everywhere.
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Francois Truffaut
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Steven Speilberg
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 137 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Recommendation: Great Buy