'Close Encounters' Of The Blu-ray Kind

By Greg Tarr On Aug 6 2007 - 6:00am

Steven Spielberg's classic UFO adventure "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," will be released in a special 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition in both the Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats Nov. 13, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said last month.

The set will incorporate all three versions of the film, including the first-ever home video release of the 1977 original theatrical edition, the re-edited 1980 theatrical special edition and Spielberg's definitive director's cut (released in 1998 as the Collector's Edition).

Bonus material includes a never-before-seen interview with Spielberg created specifically for this release, and a retrospective documentary.

The high-definition version of the set contains all three cinematic versions on one 50GB Blu-ray Disc, with bonus material included on a second disc. The feat was made possible using a new process known as "seamless branching," which draws upon the interactivity built-into the system and the higher processing power of second generation Blu-ray players. The process identifies the differences between each version of the film and segments the footage accordingly. These segments are then encoded and assembled into three unique playlists, allowing footage used in all three films to be included on the Blu-ray disc only once.

Based on the viewer's selection of the Original Version, Special Edition or definitive Director's Cut, each film will be presented seamlessly in its original form by use of its respective playlist.

The Blu-ray package marks the first classic Spielberg film ever to be released on a prerecorded high-definition disc format.

The Blu-ray version will carry a $49.95 suggested retail, and the DVD set will sell for $39.95.

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