Review by Elliott
When I think of Steven Spielberg, the first movies that come to mind are Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan. Serious movies with lots of action sequences and violence. The Terminal is neither of those. I would describe it as a light-hearted comedy with some similarities to Castaway. Like Castaway, this movie features a lot of Tom Hanks. “To much Tom Hanks”, is always the complaint I hear when discussing Castaway, but considering he is my favorite actor, it didn’t bother me in the least. What sets this apart from Castaway is that Hanks is joined by a handful of other great actors. Well that and the premise is totally different. They really aren’t that similar except for Tom Hanks, I just wanted to bring up Castaway… (Watch the Trailer Here)
Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Amelia Warren
Stanley Tucci as Frank Dixon
Zoe Saldana as Dolores Torres
- Inspired by the story of Merhan Nasseri, an Iranian refugee. Dreamworks reportedly paid him $250,000 for the use of his biography. In 1988, he landed at Charles de GaulleAirport near Paris after being denied entry into England because his passport and United Nations refugee certificate had been stolen. French authorities would not let him leave the airport. He remained in Terminal One, a stateless person with nowhere else to go. He has since been granted permission to either enter France or return to his own country. He instead chooses to continue to live in the terminal and tell his story to those who will listen. Reportedly, his mental health has deteriorated over the years. When given the opportunity to live in France, he refused because the documents did not name him as “Sir, Alfred”, and he claims to have forgotten his native Persian language. Reportedly, he left the terminal in August 2006 to be hospitalized for an unspecified illness.
- Each failed application for entry to the USA counts against your chances of eventually being allowed in, so Viktor was actually hurting his cause by applying every day.
In The Terminal, Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) has landed in New York City on a quest to get the autograph of Jazz musician Benny Golson. Like so many stories, the end goal is not really what matters, but how you get there and what happens a long the way.While Viktor was flying to New York, his home country of Krakozhia has broken out into civil war. Because of the civil war, the US no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a nation and as such won’t allow Viktor to leave the terminal. Hence the name of the movie.
It takes 9 month before the civil war in Krakozhia is over. During that time Viktor figures out how to get food, looks for a job, helps a man keep his “goats” medication, tries to sneak out, has a crush, makes friends with the airport staff, and plays match maker for a couple of Trekkies. Every story needs some type of “bad guy” and in this movie that person is Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci). He is the head of Customs and Border Protection and becomes obsessed with trying to get Viktor removed from the airport. Despite his effort, every attempt to remove Viktor ends in failure. The story concludes with Viktor finding Benny, getting the autograph, and going back home. Like I said at the beginning, this is a movie whose ending isn’t as important as the adventure along the way.
Since Viktor was stuck in the terminal with no way to leave, he had to find a way to eat. He starts off with taking the free crackers at a restaurant and covering them with mustard and ketchup. Soon after eating the crackers, he discovers that if he returns the airport baggage carts, the machine will dispense a quarter. He then proceeds to return all the carts he can find, so that he can buy a meal from the restaurant. The point of this scene was to make you laugh, but in it we see a biblical principle. In 2 Thes. 3:10 is says:
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
In order to leave the airport Viktor must get his paperwork stamped by a Customs and Border Protection officer (Zoe Saldana). She has two stamps one is “red” and the other “green”. Day after day he fills out the paperwork, stands in line, and gets his papers stamped “denied”, which spurs the following conversation.
Officer Dolores Torres: Let me ask you something, Mr. Navorski. Why do you wait here two hours every day when I’ve told you there’s nothing I can do for you – that your new visa will not arrive until your country is recognized by the United States?
Viktor Navorski: You… you have two stamp. One red, one green.
Viktor Navorski: So, I have chance go New York, 50-50.
Officer Dolores Torres: [laughs] Yes, that’s a beautiful way to look at it. But America doesn’t work that way.
Fortunately that isn’t the way God works. This conversation between Viktor and Officer Torres, brings to mind the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8. In it a widow comes to the judge day after day seeking justice. The judge refuses for a while, but eventually because of her persistence, he gives her the justice she seeks. The point Jesus is making is that we shouldn’t lose heart when God doesn’t answer our prayers right away, but that we should continue praying in faith. He concludes by saying in vs. 7-8:
And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
I absolute love this movie. Although unrealistic, I find the entire premise of getting stuck in a terminal amusing. Tom Hanks as always, does an excellent job. His Eastern European accent may be completely fake, but its great! It’s fun to watch him try to figure out how to live in the airport. The other characters he encounters are fun and add to the quirkiness of the premise. In addition to Tom, the rest cast is also great and the soundtrack was written by John Williams, so it speaks for itself. There aren’t any special effects, car chases, shoot outs, or deep plots and that is alright. I would highly recommend this movie if your in the mood for a light-hearted comedy that will just make you smile.