WHAT I LIKED: Mystery is the quintessential ingredient behind almost all great sci-fi, and Steven Spielberg's 'Close Encounters' is the ultimate example of that, as it raises so many interesting questions. Are these aliens real? If so, where did they come from? How will we talk to them? Why are they affecting certain people? What do they want? Why, like all aliens in Hollywood, did they decide to land in the New Mexico desert? It's all interesting stuff, and like in many films, the questions keep you hooked as you're yearning to know the answers. Here you also care though because the character stuff is done so well as Spielberg yet again focuses much of his attention on the humanity of the people in his story by shining a light on their home life and delving into their own personal problems - in this case the fractured marriage of Roy Neary's scientist character. Couple that with the wonderment of everything on display (from the brilliant world-building to John Williams' fabulous score) and what you've got is an interesting sci-fi movie with a whole lot of mystery at its heart.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The only trouble is that whilst it throws up a lot of questions, it never really answers any of them either logically or thematically. So whilst the mystery keeps you hooked for much of the film, you may leave feeling dissatisfied and like your engagement wasn't entirely warranted.
VERDICT: A sci-fi mystery buoyed by its characters and a whole bunch of unknowns, 'Close Encounters' keeps you engaged for much of its run-time, but once you know there's no real pay-off, it becomes a far less satisfying experience.