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Close Encounters of the Third Kind$
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Jon Towlson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325079

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325079.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Introduction: ‘The UFOs Are Coming!’

Introduction: ‘The UFOs Are Coming!’

(p.7) Introduction: ‘The UFOs Are Coming!’
(p.3) Constellations

Jon Towlson

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Close Encounters is a UFO movie that arose from a resurgence of ufology in the 1970s, which coincided with the growth of New Age movements, mysticism, alien-abduction cults, and an increasing belief in conspiracy theories. The film speaks to Utopianism, the belief within international relations theory that war can be eliminated either by perfecting man or by perfecting government. Utopianism is, of course, a key concept in science fiction. The chapter then looks at Jack Kroll's review of Close Encounters, which demonstrates how so many of the political criticisms surrounding the film stem from the time of its initial reception, and how its cultural denotation as ‘transcendent’ science fiction was immediately recognised and accepted by some — but not all — critics. The chapter also details the synopsis of the film.

Keywords:   Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, UFO movie, Utopianism, international relations theory, science fiction, science-fiction film, transcendent science fiction

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