Blu-Ray Review: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Without a shadow of a doubt, Steven Spielberg is the most innovative, exciting and successful living blockbuster director. He’s made some of the most iconic films in the history of cinema. Jaws, The Indiana Jones movies, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan; the list seems endless. It is perhaps his science fiction films which have left the most lasting impression on generations of adults and children alike. War of the Worlds, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and A.I. Artificial Intelligence are all thoughtful, visionary and life-affirming in their own ways, but it’s undoubtedly Close Encounters of the Third Kind which is his masterpiece.

When a series of missing vessels and crafts suddenly re-appear, French scientist Claude Lacombe (François Truffaut) and his interpreter (Bob Balaban) know something strange is going on. Especially considering that this coincides with a number of strange occurrences and a spike in UFO sightings. Roy Neary (Teri Garr) and Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon) have separate extra-terrestrial experiences which draw them inexorably towards a strange mountain. They’re not alone, but the military has got there first and cordoned-off the area. And they appear to be waiting for something.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a beautiful and profound piece of movie making. There’s a certain magic that Spielberg sprinkles liberally over his films. A hopefulness. It’s certainly a feeling we could all use right now. The new 4K restoration is breathtaking. As are the extras included with the limited-edition. It’s a rare event for a truly magical film to be made. One which enchants and beguiles whilst building strong central characters. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a deeply humanist film which looks up at the stars in hope and wonder.

Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD Gift Set & Blu-ray Editions only:

  • All three versions of the film: 1977 Theatrical Version, 1980 Special Edition & 1997 Director’s Cut (also included on 2-Disc 4K Ultra HD Edition).
  • “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.
  • “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

The all-new 4K restoration of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on October 9 on 2-disc remastered Blu-ray, 2-disc 4K Ultra HD & limited edition 3-disc 4K Ultra HD “Light and Sound” gift set.

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