God I'd love to see this on the big screen with digital sound and all the frills. It would be sooooooooo cool. And apparently it was according to Birdie Num Num.... Here he is to give you the geek's eye view on it all...
Just thought I'd share a little piece of geek nirvana that I was fortunate to experience this evening.
Tonight, I attended the premiere of the "definitive director's cut" of one of the great films of all time, namely "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
For this SPECIAL "SPECIAL EDITION", Spielberg has kept some of the additions from the 1980 Special Edition, but has excised the lame "inside the ship" ending and restored all the amazing family footage and scenes of Richard Dreyfuss' nervous breakdown that he had cut out of the "original" edition. All this, with digital sound and pristine color in a beautiful brand new wide-screen print. Ahhh, bliss. (Now if only Lucas can take a cue from Spielberg and put back Han firing first.... well, it's good to dream).
It had been a long time since I had seen this film, particularly on the big screen. I remember being 9 years old and waiting on line at the Cinerama Dome in LA for the opening. Let me tell you something -- this film is even better with age.
It's incredible how well-made this film is, how far ahead of its time. Face it, "The X-Files" wouldn't exist without it. The special effects are still dazzling. They look ten times more real and awe-inspiring than most of the CGI stuff we're given today. The lighting, the texture... amazing.
Best of all, it's a reminder that Spielberg once was a master at a little thing called subtlety. Not once does he hit the audience over the head. And apart from, perhaps, STAR WARS, this is clearly John Williams' best score. The film has its own deliberate pace, building slowly to the amazing ending. And the characters are easily the most real Spielberg has ever depicted. None of the cute, whitewashed suburbia of, say, POLTERGEIST here.
For anyone out there who hasn't been able to see the original version on tape for a while, I think the amazing family scenes here are going to be the biggest surprise/treat. It almost felt like Cassavettes -- so raw, so real. The scene where Dreyfuss starts breaking down in the tub and his kid looks at him and silently cries... the sequence where he destroys the house, gathering the materials for his sculpture... his breakup with Teri Garr. We get such a raw picture of Dreyfuss' obsession. The restoration of these scenes really takes the movie to a whole other level.
Best of all, there was a discussion panel afterwards. Spielberg couldn't make it (he was in NYC), but Vilmos Zsigmond was there, as well as production designer Joe Alves, producers Michael and Julia Phillips (she seemed like she was on drugs and hogged the mic whenever possible), Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban and, best of all, CARY GUFFEY!!! Guffey is now married, has just gotten his MBA and lives in Alabama. His hair is dark and he's very tall, but his face looks exactly the same.
I assume a theatrical re-release is being planned for this. Don't miss it (as if anyone who reads this site would...).