"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" just received a 40-year anniversary re-release, and many critics point out Spielberg's childlike, innocent awe provided the necessary counterpoint to the dark, gritty realism of filmmaking in the 1970s.
40 years ago, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind first touched down in cinemas....Watching the film in today’s political climate of fear and distrust in one’s fellow man – let alone technologically superior beings from the cosmos – it is impossible not to note the glorious naivety of the picture.
Others say Spielberg just suuuuuuuuucks. They call him a corporate businessman who makes "stupid, noisy movies and gormless, contrived scripts geared to sell crap at McDonald's and Toys'R'Us" for piles of money. And enough with that stupid baseball cap already.
Others say his work is entertaining, but there is no real "there" there. He relies on the same repetitive, bland themes and shots with every film.
Spielberg’s movies are undeniably powerful. His films function as supreme audience entertainments, almost by definition. But when I revisited them, I wanted to find their ideas: What, after all these features, has Spielberg really said? My verdict? Not much. Beneath all his technical wizardry is only a simulacrum of aesthetics. The gassy high-mindedness; the complete lack of all but the most bland humor or self-awareness; the boring, slightly pompous exposition that bespeaks a person whose every word is hung on, and never challenged, for far too long.