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A Hulu Exclusive: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

September 24th, 2008 by Editor

At the time of its release, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed the conventions of the typical aliens-come-to-Earth genre. And now it comes to Hulu, which will be the only site to stream the movie until October 1 (but you can watch it here through the end of October). In fact, this may be the first Steven Spielberg-directed feature film available for online, ad-supported streaming anywhere.

Originally released in 1977, Close Encounters certainly doesn’t look like it is over 30 years old. Vilmos Zsigmond won an Academy Award for the cinematography and the image quality holds up after all this time. In fact, it looks great when you choose Hulu’s 480p Hi-Res option. The special effects still look great, too — and they were done long before the computer became the backbone of the Hollywood special effects arsenal.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The film is atypical for Spielberg (and the aliens-visit-Earth genre as a whole). Close Encounters‘ aliens don’t attack Washington, D.C., but they do have a flying saucer. Their mission on our planet is far from standard, and the conclusion of the film is ambiguous — certainly when compared to other Spielberg films. There’s a great amount of tension throughout, and none of the twists and turns are predictable. The story very much plays with the familiar conventions of the UFO movie, and has now become a convention itself, inspiring perhaps the movie Signs and many others like it.

What I like best about the film is that, beneath the sci-fi exterior, Close Encounters is a tale of discovery. It’s about obsessed individuals pursuing their quest as far as they can take it. It might also be about a great filmmaker showing his audience how important it is to make a film. I hope you enjoy discovering this classic on Hulu.

Jonathan ()

Last comment: about 9 hours ago 1 Comment
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