Making the Grades
Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) is a power lineman sent out to investigate an unusual energy drain that is causing massive blackouts across the city. Driving along the back roads of Indiana, he witnesses low-flying UFOs that flood his truck in a brilliant light. His close encounter (of a third kind) leaves him not only with an oddly burned face but an unexplainable obsession for a particular shape.
His wife, Ronnie (Teri Garr) can't understand this new compulsion. To her, Neary is fast losing his grip on reality and causing a rift in their marriage. Yet despite her pleas and threats, her husband continues watching the sky until a near accident draws him into the company of Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon) another extra-terrestrial observer. Traveling together, these two unlikely companions follow their intuitions into the wastelands of Wyoming in search of answers about life forms from outer space.
Of course the director, Steven Spielberg, still leaves a few questions for the audience. For instance, after seeing how massive the Mother-ship is, how could anyone looking at the night sky have missed it? Or the aliens--they seem nice enough when you meet them, so why did they cause such chaos while trying to contact the humans? Parents may also wonder if the movie will be too uncomfortable for their younger children after noting the number of profanities that work their way into this script and the inclusion of several intense scenes (most notably the abduction of a 3-year-old boy).
Debuting in 1977, the same year as George Lucas' Star Wars, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind is an earthly version of interaction with space life and includes some equally impressive special effects as the Lucas film, despite the fact that Spielberg was saddled with budget restraints and scheduling problems which forced him to eliminate several shots from the first version of this movie. He later received funding and studio space from Columbia and filmed the additional scenes that were included in his Close Encounters Of The Third Kind-Special Edition version that released in 1980. No matter which version you may see, Spielberg does give his viewers an imaginative encounter with extra-terrestrial life forms and the inspiration to follow your dreams where they take you.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
In this film Spielberg promotes the idea of following your dreams. One scene even includes several musical bars from the Disney theme song, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” What was the price Neary paid to pursue his dream? What did it cost his family? Do you think that it was worth it?
On September 24, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devil’s Tower the first national monument of the United States. You can find more information on this interesting Wyoming landmark at http://www.all-abroad.com/stories/devil2.htm