The last two reels were very good, as was the opening, but the middle act was a long section that seemingly missed the Movieola/flatbed. What worked for me was Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography, Douglas Trumbull's visual effects, and Johnny Williams' Holst-influenced score.
In February a friend and fan of CE3K explained to me the more recent versions. I've seen the original theatrical release and the "World Television Premiere". Since then Spielberg has made efforts to improve the film. As my authoritative buddy explained, the director greatly improved those (to me) poor middle reels. This version is available on home video. So too are the earlier cuts.
My comparison yesterday was of the novelization to the original release. I was speaking of Close Encounters as an overall film. Perhaps it's time I check out the most recent version.
First posted as "Explaining My Close Encounters of Yesterday " on July 19, 2018.