Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and George Lucas’ first saga of “Star Wars” series that both released in 1977 introduced a new line of cinema of digital and special effects, specially to American cinema that changed cinema for ever. Although these two films were science fictions, the digital and special effects work in later years went beyond and into different contents and storylines of films. Science fictions has a long history and in modern time goes back in the literature to H.G.Welles and in cinema as early as 1918 and the Danish film “A Trip to Mars” by Holger-Madsen. While those science fiction novels and films of the past that were produced in abundance did not change cinema, Spielberg and Lucas’ works did by introducing the digital special effects that was ready by late 70’s to be applied to the films, though still in its infancy.
This new line of cinema did not only bring the digital special effects at the computer desks and in the studios and less on location filming and easier work for the directors, but also a series of storylines about supernatural heroes, villains, sixth sense and visions. Films such as Superman in the following year, then batman, antman, ironman and else infused beliefs in superpowers, fantasy and fables unlike not time before, taking the realism out of cinema to this very day in abundance. With the staggering box office sales of $775.4 million for the first Star Wars from a minute budget of $11 million and a less sales of $306.1 million for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” from a higher budget of $20 million, the new line of cinema dominated not the film market, but the minds of ordinary and young moviegoers.
To the contrary of the box office success of the new line of digital and special effects cinema and the accolades of critics, ranking “Star Wars” 13 and Spielberg’s later film “E.T” at 24 in AFI 100 greatest American films, the original “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” has no ranking. Also none of these new line of films have ever won any Academy Awards until in 2003, the third and last episode of “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” that won all 11 nomination awards including the best picture and best direction.
A New Line of Cinema: Special Effects & Fictions
As discussed above the new line of cinema created by Spielberg and Lucas not only added digital special effects to the films, but changed the storylines from realistic life stories to fable and fictions with extra-terrestrial lives, supernatural powers, visions and senses, heroes and villains. All these started in a big leap from Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But unlike Lucas’ Star Wars, then the future films of superman, batman and alike that had no much base in reality, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” of Spielberg like his “Jaws”, and later on “E.T.” are exaggerated reality tales. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is an exaggerated depiction of UFOs that for long have been claimed to have been viewed by some.
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