As for the overlength of the gosh-wow images that they're reacting to, whether the Enterprise in drydock or the V'ger interiors: To me the most spectacular image in Close Encounters of the Third Kind was when the mother ship rotated/inverted, just before descending (hemisphere side down) to the landing strip that our government has prepared. The scene lasts no more than 7 or 8 seconds. It wouldn't have had half the impact if they'd let the camera linger TMP-style.
Actually that spit-rotation shot was something they had to cut away from early, because the rig wouldn't sustain the weight of the model through the full amount of rotation. I've always thought it looked like a bit of an awkward cut coming out of that shot, though the music is grand enough to let it skate by.
But you're right in bringing CE3K up; there are easily a dozen visual moments that are utterly breathtaking. If they'd gotten Trumbull on TMP early, I think you'd have seen a drydock sequence so epic in scale that my jaw would still be on the floor 33+ years later ... if he'd gotten to build the E at 28 or 30 ft long (about the same as the EVENT HORIZON miniature), the gorgeousness that is TMP would be modest by comparison.