differences between the various versions are too numerous to go into in full detail -
especially considering that for network screenings of the movie all existing
footage was used!
In the end the film is
tighter in the midsection, but longer towards the end. In fact, the final scenes reveal a
lot more of the interior alien mother ship and while those new scenes are spectacular (the new
effects were designed by the underground artist Ron Cobb - but no credit is given) they
are redundant to a degree and tends to drag.
While this is the film
that Spielberg originally wanted to release, the net sum of Close Encounters
remain the same: this film is no huge departure from the previous version and
remains, even 21 years later, a definite sci-fi classic.
Not even Spielberg makes them
as they used to . . .