Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:The arrival of the spaceships is suspenseful and can be scary. There are tense moments as Roy and Jillian approach Devil's Tower. Smaller children may be scared when Barry is taken by the aliens, and by his mother's distress. Older children may be upset w
Diversity Issues:Tolerance on an interplanetary level
Movie Release Date:1977

Plot: When Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian Guiler (Melinda Dillon) “encounter” a UFO, they travel to its landing site, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming. Jillian is seeking her son, who disappeared with the alien ship, but Roy is strangely compelled to go in a way that is incomprehensible to him. Obsessed with recreating the monolithic Devil’s Tower out of shaving cream, the mashed potatoes on his dinner plate, and finally out of mud, in a massive sculpture that takes over the living room, Roy drives his family away.

Roy meets Jillian, also drawn to the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. They find that they are not the only ones who feel they have been called there. French scientist Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut), a top-secret U.S. government installation, and others feeling the same compulsion are there to meet the enormous spacecraft, which returns dozens of humans taken over decades (including Jillian’s son). Then the aliens leave the ship, and Roy joins the group boarding the ship in an intergalactic exchange program. In the reissue, which added some new scenes, we get a glimpse of the inside of the spacecraft.

Discussion: This is a thrilling adventure story and a brilliant example of the art and craft of movie making. The craft is in the way the story is told. It unfolds with extraordinary power, involving us as much in Roy’s inexplicable compulsion as in Jillian’s search for her son. The art is in the story itself, the idea not just that “something” is out there, but that it is something wonderful. Watch how Spielberg lets us know that the aliens are friendly. In one of several tributes to Disney, the interplay between the large and small spaceships has a fond, protective, almost maternal quality. This is a device Disney uses over and over, perhaps most memorably with the dancing mushrooms in “Fantasia.” And there is something very believable and compelling about the way that the aliens use music to communicate, and to teach the people on earth. They use art as well — Roy’s sculptures and Jillian’s drawings help the message to reach their conscious minds. Spielberg creates a sense of wonder not just in Jillian’s son Barry (Cary Guffey) but in the adult characters and in the viewers, making them children again, with the aliens as the “adults,” who reassuringly, look and behave like gentle children, giving us a sense of comfort.

Questions for Kids:

Why was music a good way for the aliens to communicate with the people on Earth?

What did the scientist mean when he said it was the first day of school?

What movie did Roy want his family to see? What does that tell you about him? How does that movie relate to this one? (Hint–listen for a familiar song.)

Do you think aliens will come to Earth? What will they be like?

What do you think would happen in a sequel to this movie?

Connections: Francois Truffaut was a distinguished French film critic and director (“The 400 Blows,” “Small Change”).

Activities: Kids can draw a picture of what they think the aliens’ planet looks like. Do they live in cities? What kinds of inventions do they have that we don’t have? Make a model or draw a picture of the planets in our solar system. Go the library or a museum to get information about space travel. Check out NASA on the World Wide Web at http://www.nasa.gov to get information about the next space mission. Or write to The SETI Institute, 2035 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043 for the latest research on UFOs and extraterrestrials.



Previous Posts

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?
It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That's what a Chinese theater is experimenting with in what they are calling "bullet screens." The idea is that what you are there to enjo

posted 3:59:17pm Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media
Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. The spirit is nourished by silence. All too often, we try to drown out our unsettled or lonely fe

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS. Two upcoming films about people with ALS

posted 7:00:17am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.