PictureMastered in anamorphic widescreen, Spielberg knows how to use a scope ratio. All parts of the picture are packed with detail, from simple background shots of a child playing to the full scale visit from the aliens. The flesh tones are realistic and suffering from no smearing. During part of the film, Dreyfus suffers sunburn and the red on his skin stands out from the rest of his skin colour. For a film that it 27 years old and a majority of the film is set in the night, the DVD handles it well. I noticed several scenes in the dark suffered from a little artefacting, but this didn't spoil the overall presentation. Also, some of the desert scenes seemed to show some print damage or blotches. For this the picture scoring does lose a point. The closing sequences of the alien ship are full of bright colours and these are reproduced just fine. There is no bleeding or smearing, considering the fact literally scores of flashing colours appear at once on the screen.
SoundClose Encounters in DTS is an excellent experience. The film contains some spectacular highlights to show off your system. John Williams' score is proudly presented in all the channels and individual instruments can be clearly heard in several key moments of the film. There are plenty of aggressive sound effects on offer such as car screeches and helicopter noises. The closing scene of the alien ship is where the sound truly shows itself. The famous Close Encounters tune sounds marvellous through the speakers and had me playfully humming along with it. The subwoofer channel is used brilliantly here with the bass thumping through as the spaceship lands, opens its doors and takes off. Also, of merit is that earlier in the film, Melinda Dillion's house is targeted by the aliens. The destruction here of her kitchen falling apart and general loud noises adds to what is the scariest scene in the entire film. (Remember though, the aliens are not nasty. They just want to say hello).
The Dolby Digital mix is pretty good also. I listened to several key scenes in the film and they on the whole were encoded well. The music again comes through superbly as do the closing scenes. However, it is overall lacking the bite of the DTS track.
ExtrasNone, I'm afraid just some English and Japanese subtitles. The disc does have a nice animated menu featuring the famous theme music complete with flashing lights. Also, at the start of the disc we have the old logo for DTS in the cinema. I haven't seen this logo (The Digital Experience) for a while and it was nice to hear it swirling around the speakers.
VerdictClose Encounters of the Third Kind is probably one of the best films of the seventies. The special effects by Douglas Trumbull have no way dated and still look impressive. What is nice to see is that they were created using good old fashioned opticals and models. Combined with great performances, good direction and script by Spielberg, you have simply a brilliant example of how a blockbuster film doesn't have to leave its brain at the door.
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