Analysis - Let's talk about Close Encounters

In the fall of last year I embraced a rejuvinated sense of scepticism after reading Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. With this healthy dose of incredulity I ended up reassessing and ultimately discarding some of the beliefs I had entertained if not necessarily clung to over the years, UFOs and alien visitations among them. While in recent years I wasn't as die-hard a UFO nut as I was in Grade 8--when I actually did a school speech on the topic--I nevertheless enjoyed pondering and casually researching the subject. UFO and ET-related flicks make up the core of my cinematic preferences (although the actual film E.T. is exempt, thank God), and I've had my fair share of late nights discussing this shared interest with my friends around the dying embers of a campfire. Scary nights, come to think of it.

With the knowledge that I'll now regard such stories with a big shaker of salt comes a sense of mild disappointment: yes, the concept scared me a little--a mixture of wonder and the uncanny and heavily fueled by the works of H.R. Giger--but I enjoy being scared. Quite frankly, it's an incredibly sensous feeling, and a sudden injection of fear does a fine job of keeping my ego in check. And nothing quite compares to walking back home alone in the wee hours in the morning, constantly checking over one's shoulder, wary of a flicker in the shadows or a spine-chilling sound or, most of all, an ethereal glow on the horizon.

Strangely enough, my increased scepticism coincides with ever-ascending appreciation for a certain film that, considering its subject matter, I should probably appreciate less: Steven Spielberg's 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind.