MOVIE REVIEW: “The Terminal” stars Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Forrest Gump), Stanley Tucci (The Daytrippers, Big Night), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, Traffic), Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Book of Life), Kumar Pallana (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited), Chi McBride (Gone in 60 Seconds, I Robot), Barry Shabaka Henley (Collateral, Rush Hour), and Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek Into Darkness). It is directed by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Minority Report ), with the screenplay being written by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can, Rush Hour 2).
Viktor Navorski (Hanks), an Eastern European tourist who can hardly speak any English, becomes stranded at the JFK airport when his war-torn home country renders him as a citizen of nowhere. Now he must wait until the political battle at home gets resolved in order for him to set foot in New York City.
It baffles me how this is a Spielberg film. I’m sure it did everyone else, too. It’s small, simplistic, and… almost insignificant. Yet it manages to wiggle its way into your heart, providing a journey that’ll make you smile and make you laugh (for all the right and wrong reasons).
What a peculiar movie. Tom Hanks plays a foreigner. Excuse me? Who in the world thought that’d be a great idea? Apparently, a genius. Because Hanks pulls it off. Like, really well. In true Hanks fashion, he walks the tightrope of both aloofness and tender-heartedness in such a magnificent way that you can’t help but root for the guy. He’s the heart and soul of this feature, with his antics bringing great entertainment to what could’ve been a disaster of a meander-movie (I mean, all of it takes place in an airport… centered on someone who is simply waiting).
Surrounding Hanks is a cast of some pretty well-known stars, including Stanley Tucci, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Zoe Saldana, and Diego Luna. There’s plenty of side plots to chew on as Hanks weaves his way throughout this feature, which place great emphasis on the themes of love, heart, and patience. Yes, it can get mushy, syrupy, and everything in-between; so much so that it is funny (I laughed at moments that i probably shouldn’t have). But I had fun, and I think that’s what Spielberg wanted to achieve.
Really, what’s to be picked apart is the make-up of this story. To me, it’s lopsided. The first half of the film is strong, with a great set-up and entertaining array of problems/solutions that Navorski endures. In a way, there’s a mystery to the airport that you are trying to solve alongside our hero: how does one live in an airport for an indefinite amount of time? Obviously, this can last only so long, and we look to our supporting characters to carry the weight of the story. Which can be hit or miss. As the film progresses, things get pretty hokey really fast. Certain character arcs wrap in very dream-like, non-realistic way, and even become cartoon-ish. By the end, the film takes a different mold, trying to become a romance that I’m not sure was necessary.
Looking at the picture as a whole, “The Terminal” is an alright movie. It’s fun, with plenty of entertaining scenarios to make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Hanks shines in this role, making it believable when I foolishly thought he couldn’t, and Spielberg does his magic with the camera. What these fellas couldn’t do, unfortunately, was craft a sound story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad movie. But it certainly felt like it could’ve been something grand by the first half. A series of hokey, silly moves makes this one more of a decent affair than a great one. FINAL SCORE: 75%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: