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Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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General Information:
Year Released: 1977
Country: US
Director: Steven Spielberg

The alien spaceship in its landing place.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of the few films that does not project fear and anxiety about contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Rather than watching the skies with fear and hate, people look with wonder and a sense of awe.

The Promise of Science: Alien Life

Close Encounters features wholly friendly alien visitors. They do not invade or attack our planet, nor do they bring a peaceful message with a threatening subtext. The lead character is first exposed to them by being touched by a beam of light from a UFO. He then becomes obsessed with the appearance of the aliens' chosen landing point (which he builds our of everything he can, including his mashed potatoes). Together with the mother of an alien-abducted boy, he works on penetrating government security surrounding the landing site so that he can meet the landing spaceship. Although the aliens are met with fear and suspicion by the government, they appear childlike and friendly, and present no threat. The director sought to attain realism (or at least believability) by basing the UFO, landing sequence, and alien design on real-life reports of UFO sightings (Gunn, 98).

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. last modified: Aug 6, 2000 .