The Terminal


Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by:Sacha Gervasi, Jeff Nathanson
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna
Released: September 9, 2004
Grade: C+

From Singapore to New Zealand and the U.K. to Australia, Borders has welcomed book and music lovers on three continents outside North America.  Every Borders store offers a vast selection of books, music, movies, and more, tailored specifically to the interests of the community it serves.  We provide cozy chairs, comfortable cafes, and listening stations, so our customers can relax and stay awhile. Our knowledgeable staff is always happy to help you find what you're looking for, or you can use our convenient Title Sleuth stations to explore on your own.  Our customers often refer to their local Borders store as "my Borders."  We appreciate it, and the feeling is mutual.

Yes, that’s right.  I’ve become a corporate sell-out.  I am now selling space in my reviews so that multi-national organisations can “inconspicuously” promote their product.  I figure that if Steven Spielberg can do it, then why can’t I?

There was a point about half way through the film when I thought to myself “I can’t believe Spielberg directed this.”  The script is boring and lazy and the direction simple and plain.  It’s the kind of film where you think someone wrote it and filmed it in a single day.  The Terminal is horribly rough around the edges which is a huge disappointment when you consider the talent involved both in front of and behind the camera.

Based on a true story (rather loosely I’d suggest), our film is set entirely within New York’s JFK airport.  Viktor Navorski (Hanks) speaks barely a word of English and has just arrived in the States en route from his home country of Krakoshia.  Unfortunately for Viktor, his country’s government was overthrown while in the air and now the U.S. will not acknowledge his passport and visa.  He cannot return home either since Krakoshia no longer exists.  He has, in the words of airport controller Frank Dixon (Tucci), “fallen through the cracks”.

There is now only one place Viktor can call home – JFK Airport.  He sleeps on a self-made bed near Gate 67, he get spare change by returning luggage to refund machines, he learns English from books picked up a Borders (another free plug) bookstore, he finds love with a stewardess (Zeta-Jones) and he finds new friends amongst the many of the airport’s employees.  It’s a fun adventure but Viktor hasn’t lost sight of what he really wants – to walk outside through the front entrance.

I’m not sure what genre to best classify this mess.  There are many attempts at humour but quite a few moments are aimed at generating an emotional response from the audience.  Not helping is a pathetical long and tiresome introduction where Viktor and Frank Dixon talk in his office.  You’ll tire of Hanks’ accent very quickly and you’ll ask yourself why the great Stanley Tucci is playing such a silly one-dimensional character.

Since Viktor’s story isn’t enough to fill a full feature, a few extra subplots are thrown into the mix to bulk it up.  All were worthless.  Topping the list had to be the attempts of food service attendant Enrique Cruz (Luna) to win the heart of another employee.  Without spoiling how it evolves, the word “farce” comes to mind.

So if you’re thinking about checking out The Terminal, my advice is to terminate any such thought.