This is the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of this Spielberg classic, now fully restored for this 4K release with the original 35mm camera negatives. In the night skies near his Muncie, Indiana, power lineman Roy Neary experiences something out of this world. His close encounter sets into action an amazing chain of events that leads to contact with benevolent aliens and their Mothership.
2017 (1977), Color, Rated PG, 2016p with HDR10, DTS-MA 5.1 audio,
2.35:1 Aspect Ratio, (Includes Director’s cut, Theatrical cut and Special Edition)
Starring: Richard Dreyfus, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon and Francois Truffaut
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
“This means something!”- It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since this film hit theaters. The good news here is that even after all that time, the movie has not lost its emotional impact in the least. When the camera slowly looks over the knoll and Devil’s Tower comes into view, the hair on my arms stood up. The question here is, how does the 4K restored film look compared to the last Blu-ray release. In a word, spectacular!
Yes, there is a healthy dose of fine grain from the original 35/70 mm negatives, but I did not find that distracting. The HDR/WCG, though noticeable, were more complimentary than “wowzers!” and the most noticeable difference from the BD version is the increased dynamic range with deep blacks and intense whites. When Roy’s truck is hit with a flood light from an alien craft, it actually made me blink from the intensity. All of the lights from the ships were more vivid and intense, too, especially in the dramatic finale.
For Roy, this became an almost religious experience; one in which he eventually turns away from his family in order to pursue a life with “angels”. Actually, there are three stories being told, side by side, one with Roy’s encounter, one with a little boy and his mom, and one with a French researcher that has been looking into alien encounters for years. Trust me, if you have never seen this film, did it at once. If you have seen it, relive the experience again…now in glorious 4K.
I already mentioned the film was scanned into 4K from the original prints. The film is blemish free and the sound, though not given an Atmos update, sounds wonderfully clear and dynamic.
Some real bass is felt when the mother ship comes into view. Contrast is excellent, colors are solid and there are plenty of details throughout. Some shots are bit soft, but that is not the transfer as much as it is the origin. Still, for a 40-year-old film, it looks very good indeed. This is as close to the actual film you’ll ever see in your home. As bonus, you get all 3 cuts, so pick and choose the one you like.
All 3 versions of the film; Director’s Cut (1997), Theatrical Release (1977) and the Special Edition (1980), # Kinds of Close Encounters Featurette, Steve’ home movies and outtakes, a documentary on the “making of”, deleted scenes, photo gallery, “A view from above”, trailers and the BD also utilized the new restoration (though down rezed to 2K).