The Right Coast

December 12, 2004
More movies
By Tom Smith

Not to be outdone by Professor Rappaport below, I too am planning to see National Treasure. I loved Raiders and own all the premium DVDs of the Indiana Jones movie. The four senior boys in my family were going to see National Treasure yesterday, but the time got away from us after William's soccer team heroically held St. Heterogenous (or whatever) to a mere 7-1 (we were crushed, yes, but their "fourth graders" looked like they were out on parole).

So, instead, I watched the director's cut of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," which, if you like Speilberg, is really worth seeing. (The boys took a pass, opting for Megamutadeath IV on the playstation.) This cut comes across as grittier, and more focussed on Richard Dreyfuss's ordeal than the original version. It works quite a bit better, I think. Like ET, the tale is not really science-fiction, but a reworking of one of the oldest European (especially Irish) tales, running away from your grim life to join the little people. As science fiction, it makes no sense; its plot is silly, the behavior of scientists and the army inexplicable in various ways, and why those five tones to initiate contact? But it's just incorrect to see it as even soft Sci-Fi. Speilberg is just using the myth of UFOs to tell the story of the obsessed non-comformist who gives up everything (his claustrophobic life) to chase his dream, and improbably finds it.