Steven Spielberg’s classic film is back now on this never-before-released Ultimate Edition Blu-ray Disc, which includes all three versions of the sci-fi blockbuster. Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky. After this life-changing event, the inexplicable vision of a strange, mountain-like formation haunts him. He becomes obsessed with discovering what it represents, much to the dismay of his wife and family. Meanwhile, bizarre occurrences are happening around the world. Government agents have close encounters of the second kind – discovering physical evidence of extraterrestrial visitors in the form of a lost fighter aircraft from World War II and a stranded military ship that disappeared decades earlier only to suddenly reappear in unusual places. Roy continues to chase his vision to a remote area where he and the agents follow the clues that have drawn them to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind – contact.
1977 – Certificate: PG – USA
Rating Details: Mild language and scary scenes
In a departure from my normal viewing habits, I decided to take a look at some promotional films this week. Quite randomly, I thought I’d start with this rather overlong ‘advert’ for the Devils Tower National Monument. Looming more than 1,200’ above Wyoming’s eastern plains and the Belle Fourche River, it’s a one-of-a-kind natural wonder. Northern Plains tribes have worshipped near this remarkable, geological formation for thousands of years. Fur trappers, explorers and settlers alike were awed by the tower’s majesty. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Devils Tower as America’s first National Monument. Certainly it’s an amazing feature; I’d love to visit it one day. However, what really gobsmacked me what that this was the site of Earth’s very first contact with aliens. How the Hell did I miss that? Possibly the most important thing to happen in my lifetime and I knew absolutely nothing about it! This promo, which to be honest is more of a documentary than anything else, describes the actual meeting and there’s even film of the aliens in it too, as well as a load of scientists and other people. Apparently some French guy called Steven Spielberg, who worked for an electricity company and used to be a shark fisherman, first made contact with them when his young son ran away one night. In fact he was nearly run over by a flying saucer. What’s especially interesting is that the aliens’ culture appears to be almost entirely based on the music of the Electric Light Orchestra; even the design of its flying saucers is based on the cover of ELO’s most successful album, “Out of the Blue”; a strangely apt title under the circumstances. Incredible! What isn’t made clear is what the aliens actually came here for, other than to give us a load of stuff they nicked during the Second World War; maybe an alien child took it and his/her/its mother send him/her/it back to return it, I’m not sure. The only thing they seemed to introduce us to is the concept of ‘sonic branding’, something that Intel has been using ever since. I have to admit I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with all this. I’ve tried Googling “aliens”, but there’re 133 million pages of stuff about them. Totally mind-blowing.
Unfortunately, despite the game-changing news it contains, this promo/documentary itself isn’t that great. A lot of things aren’t explained very well. I wanted to know about the aliens, not the personal relationships of the people involved. The film of the spaceships does look excellent on Blu-ray, although their grasp of music, based as it is on ELO, isn’t exactly going to set the charts alight, or burn-up any dance-floors anytime soon. Their song really could do with a good remix. The same goes for this film. I imagine if they’d got someone in who knew what they were doing, it would have been a lot shorter, more to the point and made it far clearer what the aliens wanted. I guess it was just put together by some local film company; a tourist board would hardly be in a position to hire a top Hollywood director. Come to think of it, as a fan of cinema I’m surprised no one has tried to make a movie about this event. It would make an awesome film.
Recommended for idiots like me that missed this bit of news back in 1977. I guess I was too busy with punk to notice.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations. Though I imagine there were a load of ray guns and stuff on the spaceship and who knows, maybe some aliens pets too.
Top badass moment? Aliens landing on Earth for real? What do you think?
January 6, 2013 | Categories: The Thoughts of Cactus | Tags: 1906, 1977, Adventure, Aliens, America, American Film, Classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Devils Tower, Devils Tower National Monument, Electric Light Orchestra, ELO, First Contact, Flying Saucer, François Truffaut, Greys, Melinda Dillon, Out of the Blue, Richard Dreyfuss, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Spaceship, Steven Spielberg, Teri Garr, Theodore Roosevelt, Trailer, UFO, Unidentified Flying Object, USA, Wyoming | Leave a comment