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Author Topic: I'm a-leaving on a cheese doodle.... The Terminal : review.  (Read 1727 times)

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Hell Toupee

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Well, after seeing the Zoolander-light that was Dodgeball:ATUS, I decided to take a stab at a movie that was actually speaking to me. Unfortunately, that movie was The Terminal. Unfortunate for a couple of reasons actually: A – because I work for an airline, B – I know how an actual Terminal operates, C –I’m familiar with Russian (a language I took in college), and D – I had high hopes because of Spielberg and Hanks.

The Terminal – 3.25 out of 5 cheese doodles.

In a world where you can meet all kinds of people just by standing in one building, you’d think the microcosm that passes though may be interesting for a story of two. Sure you might get a few people here and there that might have some grand vision of flying off to meet a loved one they’ve never met, or someone who has a couple of hours before the ‘big company meeting’, or just a cop who’s having a bad day at Dulles with terrorists on the loose (sorry, wrong movie). In truth, most people are just trying to get to point B, for whatever reason. They want the fastest, cheapest route with the least amount of hassles possible. And who doesn’t? Not many people enjoy spending a lot of time ‘sitting in a tin can’. Most people have little patience, little time, and little nerve to be able to put up with inconvenience. It’s a fact of life that ‘convenience’ is a concept that’s about as valid as weapons of mass destruction; you know there’s a possibility of it, but try to find it. Therein lies the challenge.

So here we have the plot of a man from a country (the ficticious Kourkozhia, which is more or less a Russian state), whose purpose of coming to America is to fulfill a promise (which I won’t disclose for those who wish to see it). He arrives in New York, only to find that his country has just undergone a coup and that he no longer ‘has’ a country. This presents a problem, since no country, no passport, no entering America. So this man, Viktor Navorski, is faced with the problem of living in the Airport terminal. That’s the whole movie.

It’s a good story, in theory, and for the most part it works, thanks largely to Hanks and Spielberg. Hanks brings a sentimentality to Viktor that works on almost every level (except in a scene where he’s faking Russian, which to me sounded sloppy, but that’s a problem that I’m sure only I would have). Hanks manages to pull out some heartfelt moments out of such a simplistic character that you really do root for him to succeed. The only problem here is that the overall payoff of his reason for being there in the first place is contrived and dull.

Spielberg also does well in what I believe is his smallest feeling film ever. It’s amazing to see this set (The film was not shot in a working airport. It was built in an airplane hangar, and every single thing on the set WORKED. The Burger King was a fully functioning Burger King.), and see how much of a character it became. It's almost too realistic.

Spielberg’s (and one of the film’s) biggest problems is it’s way too long. Try 45 minutes too long. That’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes of Viktor’s antics in an airport. Ever spend 2 plus hours in an airport? I have. Booooooooring! The editor must’ve been asleep at the wheel, since I know I was by the end.

Another problem is Catherine Zeta Jones, who while nice to look at, doesn’t have much to do except say how much of a ditz she is. She shows up, has a fight with her boyfriend, hooks onto Viktor because he’s kind, quotes books about Napoleon, and finally sees how much she misses her boyfriend thanks to Viktor. Um, could someone give her something to do other than birthing  *shudder* Micheal Douglas’ love children?!

The surrounding characters (with the exception of Zoe Salanda, who plays the female customs agent, and Stanley Tucci, who is in charge of homeland security/customs at the airport) are not that memorable either. They’re there for laughs and to bolster the film’s length. I could’ve done with less of them.

Overall, I get the feeling when watching the film that its heart is in the right place, but it’s mind is squarely in left field. I don’t see why they spend as much time as they do building up a romance that never comes to be. I don’t see the reason for the film to take place over the course of nine plus months. I don’t see how they’d let someone have that much access to an airport facility in this day and age. Etc., etc., etc…

This is a movie after all. A fantasy land where everything is possible, and on that note, it’s decent escapism. Some funny moments are to be had if you can suspend your disbelief for a spell. But I know better. I know what it’s really like. And if Viktor were to ever fly into our airport, you could be your last dollar the movie would’ve ended 10 minutes after it began (or been an epic the size of War and Peace, non-abridged), and not be near as tidy.

I guess I’ll work on my suspension of disbelief. Now, pass the nachos before the cheese gets cold!

-ct
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Juliana

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I'm a-leaving on a cheese doodle.... The Terminal : review.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2004, 08:50:37 AM »

The movie is based on a true story though.
SOme guy in France who's lived in an airport for years.
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The Engineer

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I'm a-leaving on a cheese doodle.... The Terminal : review.
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2004, 09:20:01 AM »

Yup, this man.
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Hell Toupee

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I'm a-leaving on a cheese doodle.... The Terminal : review.
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2004, 10:44:01 PM »

Yeah, it may be based on a true story, but the story they concoct for the screen seems forced with all the added stuff they put in to make it watchable as a film.

-ct
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Doug

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I'm a-leaving on a cheese doodle.... The Terminal : review.
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2004, 09:11:29 AM »

Quote from: "The Engineer"
Yup, this man.

It's true....Snopes backs it up.
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