The first Steven Spielberg film to arrive on a high definition format, there’s something fittingly comprehensive about the Blu-ray release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind that befits such a strong, high-profile disc.
The reason for that is that three different cuts of Close Encounters are presented in this terrific set; there’s the original cinematic version that debuted in 1977, the different cut that surfaced in the 80s, and Spielberg’s final take on the film from the late 90s. It’s arguable that each of the three has its highs and lows, and there’s something fascinating about comparing the trio too.
As for the film itself? Close Encounters is the terrific tale of Richard Dreyfuss’ Roy Neary, who discovers a UFO in the middle of the night. Co-starring Teri Garr, Francois Truffaut and Melinda Dillon, the film then follows the attempt to bring the aliens to Earth, and–coupled with terrific special effects, particularly for the era–Close Encounters is rightly regarded as a deserved classic.
The Blu-ray release is also spectacular, partly for the comprehensive nature of the package, but also down to the gleaming audio and picture quality. It may not be the highest profile Spielberg movie, and there’s certainly a deep back catalogue calling out for the high-definition treatment. But don’t let that blind you: Close Encounters is an absolute treat, and this is the best way outside of a cinema to enjoy it. —Jon Foster