Close Encounters of the Third Kind ★★★

Second viewing, first in theater. All build up and the final third is a bit of a let down because Spielberg is far more interested in treating his audience like children in awe of spectacle than adults with curiosity in other cultures. There are a lot of missed opportunities in the first two acts with Dreyfuss' descent into madness played mostly for humor (with the exception of the terrific dinner table scene) and while you eventually see his family leave him, Spielberg doesn't really play up what kind of sacrifice is being made. It's instructive to think about this film in comparison to 2001 from roughly ten years earlier and how both of the films have aged; Kubrick's film still has the ability to dazzle with its vision but Spielberg's film seems defused and distanced, like an old arcade game.