Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

15 July 2008

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Director's Cut, dir. Steven Spielberg (1977)

NIKKI says:
Very happy to take a second look at this movie in its new Director's Cut edition. I like the movie. I get caught up in whimsy and the adventure of the whole thing, as I'm sure I'm supposed to. I really enjoy Richard Dreyfuss in all-out manic mode as the man who knows something is out there. But I found watching the movie for only the second time, that I felt bad to Dreyfuss's family who were really just abandoned while he went on his quest into the unknown. I can understand him perhaps leaving his wife behind, she who didn't fully support him in this thing he was going through. But his children?

The scene where Dreyfuss is in the bath, just losing his mind -- those kids really experience something there. That is a tragic moment for them as much as it is for their dad. I feel like Spielberg really did something great there, letting us see how this whole business was affecting the kids. But then the kids just leave and Dreyfuss never gives them a second thought.

I really struggled to fully be with Dreyfuss in those final moments where the aliens take him away. I know I was meant to feel good for him, and happy that his journey was about to take its inevitable next step. But I just sat there thinking -- what about the kids? If this whole thing was just so big that it blocked everything else out of his thinking, then the movie should have let us in on that. Or simply done away with the kids in the first place.

The other thing that bothers me -- why doesn't Dreyfuss take the mud and trees in through the door? Why doesn't he build the thing outside?

Ignoring those issues, it's a good movie. I don't know how much the original cut differs from the director's version, but this one we watched was well-paced and gripping when it needed to be, it had that glittery Spielberg innocence, and some dashes of great humour. It's Spielberg back when he was trying to tell stories instead of trying to change the world.


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