Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Spielberg’s vision of friendly alien contact was realized beautifully in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Uploaded by imgobject.com.
The wonky title refers to a scale of alien contact developed by ufologist (wrote the bloggerologist) J. Allen Hynek. The book, published a few years before the film came out, considered this third level of encounter as the sighting of occupants in or around the UFO. Which is just what Steven Spielberg brought us to at the end of Close Encounters.
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Spielberg’s vision of aliens is a friendly one, something of an outlier in the earthlings/aliens Sci-Fi genre. Of course, we see it again later in the blockbuster E.T. Richard Dreyfus witnesses UFOs, then becomes obsessed with them, until he recognizes that the Government is ready to make contact. He heads to Devils Tower in Wyoming for the meet-up, and we hear that famous and haunting five-tone musical greeting. In the end, Dreyfus is invited into the spaceship, reminding me of the end of Field of Dreams when James Earl Jones is invited to join the ballplayers as they depart into the corn.
Close Encounters cost about $20 million to make, and has grossed about $337 million. No wonder Hollywood gives Spielberg a blank check when he wants to make a movie. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, yet only won one (Cinematography). Even so, this classic was ranked number 64 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies.
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