Advantages: Amazing Special Effects from the non CGI days
This is a classic! To appreciate it you had to be there, you had to be in 1978 that is. This film was released around about the same time as Star Wars. Two totally different films, tied together with (for the time) marvellous special effects and beings from outer space, and that really was all they had in common.
But all too often CE3K (as it is known amongst fans of the film) is lumped in and compared with Star Wars, so lets drop Star Wars now.
CE3K follows the course of a family man, Roy Neary who becomes obsessed with a shape he is 'seeing' in his imagination. This obsession occurs after he has an encounter with an 'aircraft' hovering above his truck. The aircraft paralyses his truck's electrical system and leaves Roy 'sunburnt' on one side of his face.
In a parallel story we have single mother, Gillian Guiler's obsession with this shape. Her obsession comes about after a similar experience, but Roy finds his experience fascinating and enchanting, Gillian's is not so.
Both their lives become entangled with finding this 'shape', Roy's obsession causes a family split; Gillian's obsession and motives are concerned with completing her family unit.
This obsession drives the viewer too, although with a little forward knowledge, the viewers obsession is in whether they will get to see space ships and men from mars.
Let's just say the film comes to a rather climactic and spectacular ending. To really appreciate this film, try to image CGI hasn't been invented yet, but also try to appreciate the human story within.
Summary: A great piece of 1970s cinema