Close Encounters of the Third Kind

“We didn’t choose this place. We didn’t choose these people. They were invited. They belong here more than we.”

In 1977, Devil’s Tower went from being known as the first National Monument (for those who had actually heard of it) to the iconographic image marking the rendezvous point where the aliens want to meet the humans in Steven Spielberg’s third theatrical film, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The release and success of the movie saw visits to the monument skyrocket, which shows the power in Spielberg’s film. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we jump back into our Original SciFi series with this fantastic entry into the genre. We talk about the way this film has changed in our eyes as we’ve gotten older, and how the parenting of both Roy and Gillian, played by Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon, now feels incredibly poor. We discuss the nature of the 3 existing cuts of this film, what’s different, what works and what doesn’t in the changes, why the changes were made and which to watch. We chat about the nature of this film in the world of scifi films and why is feels very naturalistic, playing to realistic sensibilities that fit very much with Spielberg’s views at the time he made this that it was more science speculation than it was science fiction — it’s a story of alien visitors in a world where he believed we had already been visited. We go through the incredible talents behind the amazing special effects, the music, the editing and the production design, as well as the line up of the cast, even if Pete feels Spielberg should’ve swapped Dillon and Teri Garr in their roles. And we question the decision to put a “PRESENT DAY” title card up at the start of this film when watching it today clearly dates the film (leading us to question the import of ever using this title card). It’s a fantastic and lengthy discussion over one of our favorite science fiction films of all time. Tune in!

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