A murder inside the Louvre, and clues in Da Vinci paintings, lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years, which could shake the foundations of Christianity.
The story of Frank Abagnale Jr., before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and legal prosecutor as a seasoned and dedicated FBI agent pursues him.
During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
Victor Novarski reaches JFK airport from a politically unstable country. Due to collapse of his government, his papers are no longer valid in the airport, and hence he is forced to stay in the airport till the war cools down. He makes the airport his home and develops a friendship with the people who work there until he can leave. Written by
What was the reason for Spielberg to make this film? Was it to showcase how well he works with Tom Hanks? Or was it because he wanted to force audiences into a theater (or Video Store) to pay to watch him sell out and build a very forced film? I would have to go with a combination of the two.
Now, I will say that Spielberg's eye is one of the best in the industry. He continually raises the bar for each film that he makes (see Minority Report and Saving Private Ryan), but for some odd reason with The Terminal it feels like he didn't even have a bar he was trying to reach. The forced feeling of everything that happens around Tom Hanks from the unlit flame of Catherine Zeta-Jones, to a fallible in-flight wedding, to even the corny climax when a character decides to play chicken with the plane, it doesn't seem to work. Even Hanks' accent is poor. It felt as if I was watching Spielberg's table scraps from other films fall down on the floor and get gobbled up by the projector. This film just didn't work. There was not one scene in this film that I can say I enjoyed. Let me explain.
Hanks was Hanks. What more can we expect from him. I do not believe he did anything above and beyond his normal call of duty in this film. I never felt like I saw Viktor in Hanks. All I could see was Hanks with a terrible accent. Whether learned or created, the words that came out of Hanks' mouth seemed like rubbish. It felt more like audience-cute instead of a definite control of the words. Perhaps it was just me, but it felt as if Hanks learned English exceptionally fast. Strange, but this was a huge plot-hole that Spielberg left wide open for us to fall into. Outside of Hanks (being Hanks), there was Zeta-Jones who chose to go with the 'bimbo' slant with her character. She seemed ditzy, dull, and completely unfocused in this film. Her chemistry with Tom Hanks seemed completely plastic and created. There was nothing between them that said to me that they were a match made in heaven. While others will argue that Spielberg had them in the film to show two sides of living in an airport (the literal and the figurative), I thought that it was a cheap shot to guide in female viewers. What a better way to do so than with a forced romance. It makes me laugh just typing about it. Second, was Tucci even a villain? Along the same lines as my Zeta-Jones comment, there was not enough character or structure for me to even believe Tucci as a bad airport director. One moment he is asking Viktor for help and another time is yelling at him. These two characters had about as much consistency as oatmeal. Oddly, this was the general feeling of this film.
Outside of the characters, the major flaw in this film is the story. By the second hour of the film we have lost all hope in our characters and fearless director that we don't care what happens to anyone. Viktor's dramatic conclusion is overshadowed by the two hours of garbage that had been slowly piling up. I couldn't get excited or care what was going to happen next in this film, and that is a sign that something is doomed. I continued to get a sense of claustrophobia, wondering if Spielberg would finally take Hanks out of the airport and build upon something new and fresh. Alas, that never happened. Instead, we are forced to repeat the same steps over and over again in a way that almost makes you nauseated. Did Spielberg have a goal or vision with this film, or was it just made up along the way? Also, was his editor on vacation? I realize that his epics are normally long, but this one just seemed to drag beyond belief. I needed something, actually anything to keep my attention in this film, and yet nothing arrived. It felt like opening that Christmas present that you think is what you really want, but instead it is just socks. Boy, don't you feel let down?
Overall, I was highly disappointed with this film. When I see a Spielberg film I expect to be blown away by sharp images, infallible characters, and a compassionate story. He has built so much notoriety on his name and style of film alone that there is a certain expectation when going to see one of his films. I do not feel it is bad to request these three elements in his pictures. Sadly, in The Terminal I saw nothing of the sort. It was as if Spielberg was attempting to just create a big cliché instead of a film. It was as if he was doing the complete opposite from what he normally does. In this film he had shoddy images, underdeveloped and lost characters, and a repetitive repulsive story. I do not recommend this film for anyone that is a fan of Spielberg's work. It will only bring a tear to your eye.
Grade: ** out of *****
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