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Overall Rating

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 Erik Childress

"Don't Wait Long To See One Of The Year's Best!"
5 stars

Steven Spielberg is in a groove that few directors can ever hope to achieve. It’s no accident that he currently graces’s Director’s Top 100 Power List after a panel of movieloving experts just couldn’t deny the depth of his career. Tom Hanks has been in the same groove for over a decade and its no accident that this is the third path he has crossed with Spielberg in that time. Together again, they have crossed into the territory of Frank Capra for another opportunity to use the worn-out term of “Capraesque” Here though it earns the title because in 50 years people will remember, talk about and admire The Terminal as they do both It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

Hanks is Viktor Navorski. As he arrives in America, a military coup has taken over his homeland of Krakhozia. Since the U.S. does not currently recognize this as a legitimate government, the airport’s Homeland Security director Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci, perfectly playing the Capra villain) explains that Viktor has literally become a man without a country. He can’t go back home and he is not allowed to set a foot outside on American soil in New York City. Dixon’s easiest solution for what he believes is a one-day problem is to make Viktor wait in the confines of the International Terminal Lounge.

The screenplay is ingenious much like another Hanks’ masterwork, Cast Away, in that it must now invent ways for Viktor to avoid starving and learn English to get himself around this waiting room to the Land of the Free. He will make acquaintances in the form of three other minorities of this country; the meal coordinator (Diego Luna) who has a crush on the INS Agent (Zoe Saldana) Viktor sees every day, the baggage handler (Chi McBride) not above the occasional rule infracture and Gupta (Kumar Pallana), the strong-willed janitor who actually believes Viktor might be an internal spy.

There is also Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), the flight attendant involved with a husband (Michael Nouri) not her own. Her and Viktor have a wonderful meet-cute only to later have Spielberg practically reinvent the whole cliché for a later one. They will also form a friendship, based on misunderstandings, but one cherished by each in the short interim they have with one another while continuing to wait for the next door to finally open in their lives.

I’ve already complimented the script once, but allow me to do it again quickly because it quite likely has a bronzing appointment somewhere. Credited to Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) with a story credit to the great Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show, Gattaca), it hits all the structural story and character points with a magic wand, but also slyly puts into context the general paranoia since 9/11 combined with offering a beautiful portrait of what this country stands for in the first place.

The U.S. treatment of immigrants got a scathing indictment earlier this year from a non-American (Lars Von TrierDogville) who has never set a foot over here himself. Language barriers aside, it can be tough to find a job in America unless you’re willing to do the work nobody wants. Even a skilled laborer (hired on the cheap) can find themselves unwelcome by local teamsters. For Americans, Homeland Security tries to make us scared of our own homeland for their benefit and would rather treat newcomers as statistics than human beings. Not to mention the sacrifices that people have made so others (foreign AND domestic) could live as free men. The Terminal picks up on all of this and weaves it immaculately into Viktor’s story without ever once jamming a message down our throats.

Why there was any doubt in my mind that Hanks, even with his abundance of talent, wouldn’t be able to sustain the gimmick of his character is beyond me. Shame on me. It takes all of about 12 minutes for him to comfortably settle in past what we fear could be another wacky foreigner impersonation in the Peter Sellers veign. Viktor Hanks Navorski is beyond any such classification (except maybe Spielberg’s latest E.T.) and he takes us through this journey with his mysterious can of peanuts that contains not what we expect, but a further defining of the film’s themes, surprising us with its emotional impact. Hanks and Spielberg have picked up where Capra and Robert Zemeckis left off as this is his best film since Cast Away and probably his most endearing character since Forrest Gump.

After I left The Terminal, I could reach over my head and nearly touch Cloud Ten. The Capraesque mentality of any throwback feature can reveal itself to be corny, overly sincere and force a sentimentality that it hasn’t earned. No modern actor can do more with no dialogue than Hanks can and if you aren’t moved by the monologue explaining his purpose in America then his scene alone in a bar says it all. Don’t believe into the slander that reports of The Terminal’s last minute ending reshoots because the truth is that Spielberg and Co. have delivered from beginning right to its magnificent ending. Americans may be too busy to stop and read a sign, but read me now. The Terminal is worth the wait getting to the theater, then its DVD release and every subsequent viewing. (Note: A big, fat shut-up to those complaining about “product placement”. It’s an airport. You want realism or fakery?)

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originally posted: 06/18/04 14:04:49
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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
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
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  18-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 23-Nov-2004

  03-Sep-2004 (12)


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