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Overall Rating
3.64

Awesome: 23.08%
Worth A Look37.82%
Average: 23.72%
Pretty Bad: 10.9%
Total Crap: 4.49%

11 reviews, 90 user ratings


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Terminal, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"Me...new...to Amereeca. You...think me...cuddly?"
3 stars

Tom Hanks is one of the most talented and likable actors on the planet. Steven Spielberg is one of a very few true "masters" working within the Hollywood Machine. So how did the most recent collaboration between the pair end up so syrupy sweet and schizophrenic? While "The Terminal" is nowhere near a BAD film, it's more than a little inconsistent, frequently quite obvious and often rather maudlin.

Through a series of contrived misfortunes that exist only in movies aiming for the "Capra-esque", Viktor Navorksi (Tom Hanks) is forced to live at New York's most bustling airport. It's there that the disenfranchised immigrant will make colorful new friends, fall in love with a gorgeous stewardess, earn the wrath of an officious customs officer, bump into things frequently, speak in adorably broken English, and learn all sorts of life lessons.

While the first two-thirds of the movie coast capably by on the trademark charms of Mr. Tom Hanks, by the time Act III rolls around, one is left wondering how many more moments of push-button emotion Spielberg is going to exploit before it's all over and done with.

There's nothing remarkably new about the idea of a kind-hearted, simple-minded immigrant at the mercy of America's bureaucracies; Robin Williams covered similar ground in Moscow on the Hudson - twenty years ago. Viktor's newfound gaggle of ethnically diverse chums don't exactly shriek originality either. Further, it's disappointing to note that A) Hanks and leading lady Catherine Zeta-Jones have precisely zero chemistry together, and that B) Stanley Tucci's one-note-villain role never gets the chance to evolve beyond simple mustache-twirler.

It may seem unfair to dismiss an intentionally "light" film as airy piffle, but there's very little about The Terminal that will stick with you once the theater lights go up. There are a handful of gaffes that one would never expect from a filmmaker of Spielberg's stature: subplots are resolved in stunningly ham-fisted fashion, moments of casual cruelty are followed by light-hearted pratfalls...plus Hanks and Zeta are given approximately four separate scenes in which they discuss Naploeon as if they're two grad students who just finished writing a term paper.

Putting aside the distressingly Balki-esque speech patterns, Hanks is the movie's biggest and most glowing asset. Spielberg hasn't done a "full-on" comedy since the ill-fated 1941, but the most humorous moments of The Terminal are, indeed, quite funny. Most of the best chuckles are from character moments, so when the movie starts relying more on physical pratfalls than in witty exchanges of dialogue - we start to wonder if perhaps Spielberg allowed Garry Marshall to step in and direct a few scenes.

Technically, the film is quite lovely, although Janusz Kaminski's stunning cinematography is used mainly to frame the omnipresent product placements littered throughout the airport. John Williams' vibrant score is another asset, though one wishes that editor Michael Kahn were given just a little more work to do. The Terminal is easily twenty minutes longer than it needs to be, particularly for a movie so admittedly fluffy. It's a recommendable movie if only for the flurry of solid laughs that come early and often, but that's about it.

I appreciate that the astoundingly gifted Mr. Spielberg wanted to do something airy and light, but I doubt he was shooting for 'innocuous' - which a lot of this movie really is. What works in the film works due to Hanks, and for the initial 90-some minutes he does a truly terrific job of it. Alas, 'less is more' is a credo that Mr. Spielberg has never subscribed to, and "The Terminal" ultimately caves in beneath the tacked-on layers of warmth and whimsy. Passionate fans of the actor should consider this one a must-see, but clearly it will never rank among Steven Spielberg's finest films.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10087&reviewer=128
originally posted: 06/18/04 16:14:35
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User Comments

12/24/13 Michelle O the "romance" didn't fly but Hanks made the rest work 4 stars
6/15/10 fartvenugen as fulfilling as two crackers filled with poop. 2 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Its descent. Its fun to watch once. After that, your bored out of your rocker 3 stars
1/02/09 Josef Brillisnt. Subtly Funny and great directing and acting 5 stars
7/22/08 the dork knight All this sugary sweetness makes you want to puke 2 stars
6/18/08 PAUL SHORTT A FILM AS DELIGHTFUL AND ENTERTAINING AS IT IS INSIGHTFUL 4 stars
8/14/07 yousef contrived, cliched rubbish - rubbish. not a good film by any stretch. piss poor. 1 stars
8/09/07 EZ $$ worth a buy 4 stars
5/31/07 ES I didn't buy into any of the romance but I liked this movie very much 4 stars
3/27/07 David Pollastrini interesting subject 4 stars
3/27/07 kathy underheart Does Childress fellate Spielberg for free, or does he get paid? 1 stars
3/20/07 Kimberly Kaminsky I LOVE IT.... 5 stars
3/13/07 Cornelius Liked it, always like the light-hearted stuff. Contrived in parts though, but OK overall 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Spielberg serves up another Hollywood great. 4 stars
1/15/07 R.W.Welch Fairly amusing but too contrived to carry much punch. 3 stars
1/07/07 Dina Very new plot and setting ..loved the movie's uniqueness 5 stars
11/25/06 Khadija a "NICE" to watch movie.. 3 stars
11/16/06 J.Pet Has to be one of my most HATED films! 1 stars
11/14/06 matt Dull. Contrived. Cliche. Avoid like the plague. 1 stars
8/04/06 EZ Very different plot but great filmmakers pulled it off 4 stars
6/25/06 MP Bartley Slushy guff, but Spielberg makes it work - just. The crisp bag scene is hilarious. 3 stars
5/26/06 William Goss Borderline force-fed fluff. Lightweight, and proud of it, which both helps and hinders it. 3 stars
3/03/06 Tanya cute Tom hanks was very good the story was also good 5 stars
10/24/05 xavier the film really potrayed the stuff what tom hanks has in him,in a word it is simply superb 5 stars
9/09/05 Ric Even with a few major missteps, the film has that hard to resist Spielberg magic. 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack i loved it 4 stars
9/02/05 Tom Burns Tom Hanks gives an unforgettable performance. 5 stars
8/19/05 ES Has a gump feel to it, you can't help but be impressed with how he makes money to eat 4 stars
8/06/05 C. Miller Enjoyed the movie--I could relate to it in a lot of ways. 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins A noun turned into a verb. 2 stars
6/07/05 Darcy watchable 4 stars
6/05/05 Charlene Javier Disappointing because of the combo. 3 stars
5/27/05 Quigley spielberg dissapoints as well as hanks. this is a thing unheard of, but it happens. I weep. 3 stars
5/11/05 Simon Very charming. Flawed, but makes you forget your ordinary life- a film's primary objective. 4 stars
4/03/05 Cindy A little slow, but I love Tom Hanks and enjoyed the move. 4 stars
3/24/05 Charlie Who ever calls this movie 'Terminally Boring' sucks. 4 stars
2/22/05 Jenna Furr Tediously contorted + whole subplot w/ Catherine Shitta-Jones belongs on cutting room floor 3 stars
2/22/05 Rosa Zared BB R word word word word 2 stars
1/10/05 KCobain Much more than fluff. Come on; look closer mate. 5 stars
1/02/05 MyGreenBed It's rare when I can't finish a movie, Terminal is appropriately named. 1 stars
12/25/04 Freddy boring and annoying 2 stars
12/19/04 HL Spielberg makes you think you're watching a good movie? 3 stars
12/06/04 fred The movie at best was 'below average' 2 stars
12/05/04 Helge Samuelsen A warm and funny movie, that I really enjoyed. 5 stars
12/02/04 the Grinch Improbable but based on true story of Iranian refugee who lived in Paris airport terminal 4 stars
11/28/04 Emperor's New Clothes Sweet, a little too easy, but oh Tom Hanks, how you rock 4 stars
11/13/04 RAJEN GREAT MOVIE lots of emotion and actors and Indian too. 5 stars
10/24/04 UMER tom is probably the best actor around these days 4 stars
10/02/04 sam s thanks for the grammer lesson you are oh such a talented reviewer! 5 stars
9/21/04 Helen Bradley Tom Hanks brillant, a masterpiece 5 stars
9/16/04 Jenna Furr Tediously contorted + whole subplot w/ Catherine Shitta-Jones belongs on cutting room floor 3 stars
9/16/04 Rosa Zared BB R word word word word 2 stars
9/08/04 valentina WONDERFUL!! 5 stars
7/26/04 Melissa Wonderful to watch...both the movie and Tom Hanks! 5 stars
7/24/04 S.F Improbable circumstances ( i hope) ...yet watchable 4 stars
7/23/04 Ken Graves Great story with great actors. 4 stars
7/22/04 Nobody This movie is funny go see it right now 5 stars
7/21/04 Valerie A different, but very enjoyable film. A nice change of pace from all the other movies... 4 stars
7/19/04 Gene Entertaining and enjoyable--another very enjoyable Tom Hanks movie! 4 stars
7/18/04 Cassandra Farrar it's Hanks and Spielberg - it can't be bad 4 stars
7/18/04 Richard Awesome 4 stars
7/18/04 Onyeabo Monago Lots of movie spam 2 stars
7/17/04 legend Could've been a great film but it got too sappy for me. 4 stars
7/17/04 Chris Terrible movie. I spent the last half laughing at how stupid it was. I want my 2 hours back 1 stars
7/12/04 Mike V Tom Hanks is great but the movie is a little too corny. 3 stars
7/11/04 Carrie I laughed throughout as did others in the theater. Light and funny. Well acted. 5 stars
7/07/04 Sandra Love Funny, warm, emotional, touching! That the Tucci character would actually do this, unbelie 5 stars
7/07/04 Margie no big explosions or crazy CG, but I had a great time, and what more can you ask? 5 stars
7/05/04 Johnny Great film/movie! A fun ride, first class acting! A must see! 5 stars
7/02/04 sonia Why is this movie so uncritical, apolitical!!! 2 stars
7/01/04 The More You Know Gotta love a chick flick that's got a cool, jazzy core. 5 stars
6/30/04 Maz A fun ride, wonderfully acted. Check it out 5 stars
6/29/04 John verr very charming but also very contrived charachters 3 stars
6/27/04 ron Enjoyable. Totally realistic? No, but it's a MOVIE so have some good laughs. 4 stars
6/27/04 Todd Bertuzzi What a great movie, very nice, funny, heartwarming. Allen Roberts doesn't have a clue! 5 stars
6/25/04 jcjs fun, no brainer, lightened up, clever, funny, tender, touching, filled with character, love 5 stars
6/23/04 daniel ehiwario Delightful, heartwarming movie 4 stars
6/23/04 allen roberts Hope I never meet anyone who ranked this movie "awesome". 1 stars
6/23/04 Gray 100% harmless and funny 5 stars
6/22/04 steve amusing and lovable 4 stars
6/22/04 ajay Dude, Kumar from the Wes Anderson movies is in it. F'in Awsome!!! 5 stars
6/22/04 Marc Basque Spielberg's still got it. One of the best movies of the years. 5 stars
6/22/04 dominique cave Delightful, heartwarming movie Thoroughly enjoyable. 4 stars
6/21/04 Gina Golberg Loved it, especially the little tribute to the Jazz musicians. And I was glad ZETA JONES do 5 stars
6/21/04 Schaefling Disappointing ending that betrays the true nature of the lead characters 2 stars
6/21/04 The More You Know Great Father's Day movie featuring Hanks & the greatest jazz photo ever! 5 stars
6/20/04 Desperado Great movie Hanks and Stevie are back again in a great story, acting and storytelling r A+ 5 stars
6/19/04 Bryan Ehg, i've seen Tom Hanks in many other films. This ones just allright. 3 stars
6/19/04 Micheal Jordan Hoop it up! 5 stars
6/17/04 Jawie Not good. No point to the story. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Nov-2004

UK
  03-Sep-2004 (12)

Australia
  09-Sep-2004




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