While this is no Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, The Color Purple or even E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal is solid film. Like Mirabel Airport, where some scenes from the film were shot, The Terminal has been forgotten due to its distance from the centre. This is a shame because it is touching and funny. Maybe this rerelease on its 10th anniversary will bring it the appreciation it deserves.
Hailing from Eastern Europe, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks – Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips) arrives at JFK airport in New York only to have the rug that is his status in the world pulled out from under him. His native country of Krakozhia is in the midst of military coup and as such his passport is not worth the paper it is printed on. The Director of Customs and Border Protection, Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci – The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games), cannot detain him or allow him to leave the airport to wander around New York City. This means that Viktor has to remain in the international transit lounge armed with a beeper that will go off in the event of a change in his status.
With some food vouchers, an ID badge and a calling card, Viktor’s stay at the airport lingers on from days to weeks. He begins to earn money for food by returning carts to the storage racks. A friendly type soon Viktor makes friends with some of the staff at the airport. An improbable romance blossoms between him and hopeless romantic Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones – Traffic, Ocean’s Twelve), a stewardess.
Time ticks on with Viktor dreaming of the day he can leave the airport to venture into New York City and undertake the real reason he traveled there.
When you watch a good film there really is the feeling of magic involved. Such is the case with this underappreciated film. It investigates such issues as self-knowledge, friendship, love, integrity, and destiny. This isolated human shows us that even in the most bizarre and restrictive of circumstances that making connections with others and learning about yourself is possible. The overall message is that it really doesn’t matter where you are, but how you choose to live your life.
How Viktor copes with his circumstances is really inspiring and if it does not bring a smile to your face then you have to ask your doctor to check if you have a heart. Despite the fact that what is happening to him is not his fault and totally unfair Viktor chooses to forge on. He does not wallow for long. Because of his perseverance he comes out a better person on the other side. A lesson we could all do with taking to heart.
Very close to the prototypical feel-good film, Spielberg’s simple film contains plenty of messages and fine moments.
-Booking the Flight: The Script, The Story
-Waiting for the Flight: Building The Terminal
-Boarding: The People of The Terminal
-Take Off: Making The Terminal
-In Flight Service: The Music of The Terminal
-Landing: Airport Stories
-Theatrical Trailer 1
-Theatrical Trailer 2