Critic Reviews

90

Metascore

Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
It's one of the great moviegoing experiences.
100
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is unquestionably a great movie.
100
Steven Spielberg proves decisively that a special effects-dependent film need not be cold, mechanistic, or simpleminded.
100
The visuals here...are never less than stunning in their impact, yet always seem well within the realm of possibility. It is also to Spielberg's credit, however, that despite all of this visual opulence, his actors are never dwarfed.
90
Steven Spielberg's giant, spectacular Close Encounters of the Third Kind...is the best—the most elaborate—1950's science fiction movie ever made, a work that borrows its narrative shape and its concerns from those earlier films, but enhances them with what looks like the latest developments in movie and space technology.
90
Washington Post
It must weather some bummy mid-passage exposition, but the movie survives its flaws triumphantly, evolving into a uniquely transporting filmgoing spectacle.
90
What lifts this film into orbit—and what saves it from being a shaggy flying-saucer story—is the breathless wonder that the director brings to every frame. Whether he is showing us a pristine, starry Midwestern sky or displaying Special Effects Wizard Douglas Trumbull's formidable arsenal of spaceships and celestial storms, Spielberg seems to be looking at everything onscreen as if for the first time. The freshness of his vision is contagious—and exhilarating.
80
Newsweek
A genuine work of the popular imagination. It's the first true populist science-fiction film, a blend of the most startling, far-out special effects with the most ordinary human material of the American Heartland. [21 Nov 1977, p.88]
80
It is a warm celebration, positive and pleasurable. The humor is folksy and slapstick rather than cerebral, as if to confirm that our encounter is with a populist vehicle.
70
Steven Spielberg's film climaxes in final 35 minutes with an almost ethereal confrontation with life forms from another world; the first 100 minutes, however, are somewhat redundant in exposition and irritating in tone.

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