WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Upon arriving at New Yorkís JFK airport, Viktor Navorski (Hanks) is told that due to an internal war that broke out in his native Krakozia, he is not only forbidden entry into the U.S. but also cannot return back home until the matter is resolved. So, Viktor is forced to lead a limbo existence within the confines of the airport where he learns to fend for himself, learn the language and fall in love; all while dealing with a giant prick of a customs supervisor (Tucci) who canít seem to integrate humanity into any of his duties.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
THE TERMINAL is very much like Spielbergís previous effort CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Theyíre both relatively light, comedic films with scattered, yet credible doses of heavy drama sprinkled around. They both also left me with a feeling of deep satisfaction in the end. If you like to pick nits, then itís a guarantee that you wonít enjoy this film, there are at least a dozen elements in the plot that you will have to dismiss as fantastical necessities in order to make this movie work for you. For example, the officials are way too casual and unprofessional in handling Viktorís case and informing him of his situation upon his arrival, he barely speaks and understands two words of English and yet they just send him off into the airport with some food vouchers and a beeper. But, of course, had they gotten a decent translator for him, a good place to sleep and a representative from his embassy to see him, there wouldnít be much of a movie, and even if there were, it wouldnít be charming or funny in the least. And thatís the key word when describing this movie - charm; from Hanksí mastery of an innocent Russian-type dialect and accent, to the three airport employees that he befriends in the airport (Diego Luna, Barry Shabaka Hanley and Kumar Pallana), there is a magical and dreamy quality to everything in this movie, you just have to let it take you under its spell and donít analyze it too much; this movie isnít meant for thatÖ
Ironically, through his adventures in the airport, Viktor sees both the good and bad sides of human nature and ends up experiencing the diversity of the people, the compassion, acceptance, togetherness and love that America is capable of without ever leaving the airport. Now if you think thatís a candy-coated, cornball outlook on life, than youíre just the type of person who should see this movie. Much like Frank Capraís films, to which this movie is heavily compared, THE TERMINAL depicts what brings out the best in people, how many things are possible instead of impossible, how good can always conquer evil and all the rest of that cheery be-bop. In short, itís hopeful, and like Capraís most celebrated film ITíS A WONDERFUL LIFE, it lets all the underdogs of the planet know that the world can always be a rosy place, if your attitude is right. My only complaint is that as good as Zeta-Jones is in the movie, I honestly think their relationship hindered the movie somewhat and took away a lot of the momentum. In short, I think the movie would have been just as successful in what it was trying to accomplish without a forced romantic interest like that. Then again, last I checked, Spielbergís one of the best directors that ever lived and I still havenít cracked the top 10, soÖ
There werenít any extras in the edition I reviewed, but there is a special edition out there with tons of extra features.
This movie was as enjoyable as it was when I caught it at the cinema earlier this year. Itíll make you smile from beginning to end and confirm the fact that Steven Spielberg, for the most part, is incapable of doing wrong in any shape, way or form. His heart is always in the right place. Donít buy this particular version, but thereís a special edition of THE TERMINAL out there that is well worth your bucks.