Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Francois Truffaut
Extras: Feature-length Documentary, Promo Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Trailers, Filmographies
I am not sure how much really needs to be said about Steven Spielberg’s "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." It is the story of a few people who find themselves face to face with aliens one night. Spaceship illuminate the nocturnal skies, turning the night into day, obviously exploring Earth. Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is one of the people who witnessed the appearance of these spaceships and from that moment he is on a mission. To find the aliens and make contact with them. After days of agonizing frustration, he suddenly realizes where he can initiate the contact, and he is immediately on his way to the place the aliens have firmly imprinted in his memory. He is ready to meet the aliens, ready for a close encounter of the third kind.
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is presenting "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" in an <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> presentation on this DVD that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets. The transfer is <$THX,THX>-certified but nonetheless, I found the transfer to be only moderately impressive. While the print is mostly free of speckles and blemishes, it shows quite a bit of grain and some inconsistencies in the color timing. As a result, certain shots subtly change color while they run. A number of splice and registration problems also cause the image to noticeably jump and waver at times. Some edge-enhancement is also evident in the transfer, creating visible halos around objects when contrasted against uniformly dark or bright backgrounds, like the sky.
A variety of audio tracks have been included on this release, such as an English <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> and a 5.1 <$DTS,DTS> audio track. These are complemented by English, French and Spanish <$DS,Dolby Surround> language tracks. The <$5.1,5.1 mix>es are dynamic and powerful, adding immensely to the overall impact of the actual film. With a wide sound stage integration, sound effects and the music manage to create a level of grandeur at times that is as mesmerizing as the spaceships themselves. Surround usage is good, especially in the scenes towards the film’s climax with spaceships flying overhead from the rear to the front and vice versa. For the remainder of the movie, surround channels are engaged occasionally but to a much less effective degree in order to properly accommodate the mood. Overall this is a very good mix, especially considering that this is not the film’s original theatrical mix. The DTS track that is included is slightly more dynamic than the Dolby Digital track, producing a presentation that features a slightly more pronounced bass extension and clean high ends. Given the limitations of the original material however, real quality differences between the tracks are marginal at best.
The honor goes to the 1977 featurette "Watching The Skies," which can also be found on the disc. This is clearly a promo featurette designed to attract people to see the movie and is not intended to shed any real light on the makings of the film.
A series of eleven deleted scenes is also part of the second disc. While presented in <$PS,widescreen>, sadly none of these deleted scenes is <$16x9,16x9 enhanced>. The are a nice mix of footage that never made it into the movie, as well as some scenes that were actually used in the expanded Director’s Cut found on the DVD. Trailers and Talent Files for the principal cast are also part of this disc, rounding out the release.
While it may seem that this release contains only a few number of extras, let me assure you that the full-length documentary covers most aspects that you would otherwise find in separate features on a DVD. Content-wise there’s really not much missing, so don’t be fooled by the relatively short listing of features on this 2-disc set.