Another review, another 2 days to watch the movie. Maybe I shouldn't try watching them at 8 PM, as I keep passing out by 9. Luckily, I lasted longer for this one. By the time I gave up and turned it off, I only had about 30-45 minutes left... and for a 2 hour and 15 minute movie, that's not too bad. As it is, I wasn't super thrilled going into the movie. Sure, it's classic Spielberg... but I'd recently been hearing a lot about how boring this movie is. And after what I went through last week (and, Lord help me, what I have to go through next week), I wasn't super thrilled for it.
For those of you who don't know, the movie follows a couple different people. The main character is Roy (Richard Dreyfuss), who is... I'm not too sure. An electrician or something. He has a "close encounter" with some UFOs, and all he gets out of it is a bad sunburn and a loss of his job... for some reason. It also follows Jillian (Melinda Dillon), whose toddler son Barry has some kind of connection with the aliens. Then there are a bunch of government people who are trying to make contact with the aliens. And all of them are connected by a giant landmass that they can't quite figure out what it is. Oh, and a song that gets stuck in their heads.
This is a very bizarre movie, to say the least. There isn't much of a plot as much as it is over 2 hours of people running around confused and upset. Richard Dreyfuss was good casting, though I could just picture Spielberg telling him "Quirkier! Be quirkier! You aren't nearly quirky enough!" Though despite the lack of any real plot, after the horribly boring first 30 minutes (or so) before we really get any kind of structured narrative flow, it's entertaining enough.
The special effects are pretty cool, especially the UFOs themselves. And although the cloud formation bits looked fake, it still looked really cool for some reason. Overall, visually, the movie both holds up and feels dated simultaneously. It's very strange. I think it's because the effects themselves are really good, but you can always tell there's a green screen, so it takes away from it.
The last act is something out of Fantasia... it's very bizarre. I'm sure if they remade this movie, it'd be changed into a rap battle showdown or something. As for the aliens, the tall alien looks freaky, and the tiny ones look like the tree sprites from Princess Mononoke. The very end of the movie, however, is slightly confusing. Was the government working with the aliens, or were they just sending people to go experience them? And what the hell was with the hand movements? I know they showed them throughout the film, but were they supposed to symbolize the musical notes so they could communicate with the aliens without music? That's the best I could come up with.
I guess in the end, I suppose I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away. The effects were pretty good for their time. There could have been a clearer story, and the movie probably could have been a lot shorter. Richard Dreyfuss was good. But if I had to choose one Spielberg alien movie, I'd definitely go E.T. So yeah, I guess that's about it for this one. On the upside, I now understand the keyboard joke from Monsters vs. Aliens.