The Terminal Blu-ray Review
The Terminal is such a quiet, charming, and
beautifully realized movie and yet it opened in 2004 to lukewarm
reviews and only
modest domestic box-office. I suppose part of it is that audiences were
sure if they wanted to see an over two hour long movie about a man
stuck in an
airport terminal. Yet what some filmmakers would be incapable of making
Spielberg turns into something incredibly moving and enjoyable that is
surprises. The Terminal is textbook movie magic.
The magical qualities that Spielberg brings to
involves himself in are apparent here in strikingly bold strokes. This
of the director's best and most underappreciated films. The effort
Steven Spielberg with collaborator Tom Hanks, who performs the main
role in the
film as the character Viktor Navorski. The two paired together equals
goodness of the highest kind.
The story of the film is fascinating to me. It is
based upon an actual real-life experience someone had but the film
itself is a
work of fiction. Airplane passenger Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is
coming to New
York City from a flight from his home country Krakozhia. Yet upon
the United States he finds himself not being greeted with a pathway
country but instead with news he can barely understand as he doesn't
English; that his country is in conflict and the United States has
passports and citizenry on hold for his country during the war. He
to Krakozhia because of the war taking place and he can't enter into
States. So what's he to do?... Live in an airport?
Enter Frank Dixon. Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) is
of overseeing the protection and security of the airport where Viktor
as head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Frank greets Viktor and
to explain the situation to him. Dixon decides that he will let him
the terminal while the conflict in Krakozhia is occurring, believing
will be a short time before it is cleared up (or perhaps thinking that
will be leaving on his own). Viktor stays in the terminal and waits for
resolution. Yet it takes much longer than expected and Viktor begins
inside the terminal as if it were his home. It takes months for
happen for him in regards to going into the country or returning to
During these months of waiting Dixon becomes
frustrated with Navorski and the two have an increasingly high number
'moments' between each other - such as when Viktor tries to be helpful
detained passenger who was trying to bring medicine home to his dying
but who lacks the proper documentation. Viktor helps communicate to him
figures out a way he can help him get his medicine to his dad by
calling it goat
medicine: this moment is one which
causes increasing friction between the by-the-books Dixon and Navorski.
The story of the film focuses on Viktor and the
he has while staying in the terminal. It explores the relationships he
with others - the friendships he makes. He befriends many of the
working at the airport, including Mulroy (Chi McBride), Enrique Cruz
Luna), Gupta Rajan (Kumar Pallana), and Dolores Torres (Zoe Saldana).
course of this story, Viktor learns of the affections Enrique has for
and helps to arrange secret professions of love to her that eventually
a relationship between the two lovebirds.
Grumpy janitorial worker Grupta has his own secret story that
over the film and is climatically involved in the story's resolution.
Pallana surprises and impresses with his large supporting part
great roles that were smaller parts within the films of Wes Anderson.
the supporting parts are magnificently performed and greatly enhance
and soul of the film.
Perhaps the most prominent supporting part is for
character Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta Jones), who is a flight
Viktor meets and begins to like during his stay within the terminal.
connect and have good moments together but Amelia is in a relationship
someone who is married. She tries to end her relationship to the other
but still finds herself drawn to him, but over the course of The
Viktor and Amelia share many beautiful moments together as they get to
each other more. In the opinion of both filmmaker Spielberg and myself
more of a story of two people liking each other but nonetheless the
nature of the romance is inherent in the chemistry between the
Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta Jones.
The great performances from the entire cast helps
to make it
succeed so well. Tom Hanks is so perfect as the lovable Viktor Navorski
one can't help but root for), Catherine Zeta Jones delivers one of her
supporting performances, and Stanley Tucci is a scene stealer in this
the firm security supervisor over the airport. The
nuance of Hanks is especially an impressive
feat as he sinks completely into the role. This is one of his greatest
The production quality of The Terminal is
unbelievably fantastic. To make the movie the way they wanted to they
just shut down an airport and move in to start filming or work a
would allow for certain scenes to be filmed at certain times. Instead,
nothing short of a monumental project in which the film crew built an
airport terminal specifically to be used as the "set" for the filming
to take place as needed. The expense and the efforts made here were no
worth it. The film showcases so many different areas of the terminal
effectively and brilliantly.
The film does an interesting job of exploring the
survives inside of the terminal. It explores him gathering carts to
money and using it all to go to the only kind of food option available
to him -
fast food. It shows his approach and inability to find work in a store.
Viktor's skills as a painter come in handy for him when he does some
"freelance" working to paint an area of the terminal and finds
himself getting a good paying job to do additional work for one of the
hired to make improvements to the airport.
I enjoyed the way the development of Viktor was
the beginning to the very end, with the moving ending cementing it. The
for Viktor was to come to America to receive one last signature from an
jazz musician. He was doing it for his father. His dad had collected
signatures based on a photo and had succeeded at gathering all of the
signatures - except for one, before his passing. Viktor came to
American so he
could fulfill his father's dream for him.
The cinematography by longtime Spielberg
Kaminski is so beautiful and vibrantly rich in color while feeling
'cinematic' in a way that only film can feel. The effect is
and remarkably enveloping. I still don't understand how this brilliant
underrated cinematographer doesn't have more Academy Award wins under
Maybe that's got something to do with how consistently great he is when
with Spielberg? Regardless, the photography excels in every frame.
Steven Spielberg is a legend. As far as filmmakers
Spielberg is one of the most loved and universally praised filmmakers
ever emerged within the United States. Yet for some reason his films
tend to be
divided into two categories by most film-going audiences with the
of 'serious' Spielberg and 'fun' Spielberg. I'm often baffled by
generalizations about his movies. As if to prove some of these
wrong, The Terminal was made to be both a serious and
at the same time. Which category would these moviegoers put The
in? Is it fun or is it a serious work? Perhaps Spielberg is such a
he is perfectly capable of doing both at the same time. This film
illuminating to that idea. What a concept.
The direction is so energetic, detailed, and
love the way that Spielberg frames shots, works with actors, and finds
moments to make a film shine. From bringing forth subtle emotion from
showcasing the stunning artistry of the production team, Spielberg is
constantly finding ways to make the story work, flow beautifully, and
ever losing its wonderment. Spielberg
has long been one of my favorite filmmakers and I feel his films will
hold a special place in my heart for the immense creativity and
can find in each of them. In my mind, the textbook definition of 'movie
would include words about Spielberg and his films. The Terminal
fits in easily
alongside his best movies as a tribute of sorts to moviemaking and as a
to why I began to love movies in the first place.
The music is also so ingrained in the core of the
in the film's of Steven Spielberg. It's difficult to imagine that John
was once someone who didn't know Spielberg and did not compose his
efforts. The two are so inseparable and as ingrained into the
possible that at this point (and for a long time) one cannot think of
artist without thinking about the other. Spielberg and Williams are one
finest and longest running collaborators in the history of film. The
Terminal has a light, airy, and moving score that pulls at the
with beautiful effectiveness. Williams makes each scene by Spielberg
With a solid script by Sacha Gervasi and Jeff
Terminal manages to also talk about issues like the role of
people's lives. It especially makes commentary on government in the
States and how it can affect immigration. In some subtle (and not
ways the film paints a picture of America from its bureaucratic view to
compassion from the many employees working at the terminal who show
for the stranded Viktor Navorski. This makes the heart of the film so
powerful and it contributes to the intellectual ingenious of the film
same time. By the end one may ultimately wonder what it means to be
what does home now mean to Navorski? It's genuinely powerful,
The Terminal is a underrated masterpiece
and company. I cannot recommend the film highly enough. This film is an
essential American classic and a gem not to be overlooked in
Spielberg's fascinating and diverse filmography. While some may find it
to be a
bit over-sentimental, I find the sentimentalism one of its charms. Here
film that is jubilantly wearing it's heart on its sleeve. I wouldn't
any other way.
The Terminal arrives on Blu-ray with an
MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer that retains the original theatrical aspect
of 1.85:1. Paramount has done an excellent job with regards to the
this release. The beginning of the movie does show some slight
but this was a minor quibble. Most of
the movie is free from having anything distracting in the form of
alterations to the image.
The transfer retains a filmic presentation that is
marred by any DNR (digital noise reduction). This means the detail in
has been well preserved and that, in this case, there's a fine amount
grain preserved in the image. The colors are accurate and retain
cinematographer Janusz Kaminski's vision.
There is good image stability, depth, and details in the image. This is
superior release with an all around impressive boost in High
bit-rates for the encode average to 30 mbps and this helps to provide
with a strong, high quality presentation. I
was quite pleased with the effort Paramount
clearly made on this release.
The main audio inclusion is the English 5.1 DTS-HD
The audio is presented in 24bit and the difference is notably resonant
beautiful score by John Williams, which sounds marvelous. The dialogue
always clear and easily distinguishable. There is a good resolution
the lossless audio presentation. I also enjoyed the use of surrounds.
the separation and attention to detail in the surrounds was strong for
concerned mostly with telling a drama-comedy storyline.
The disc also includes subtitles in English SDH
deaf and hard of hearing), English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Additional audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
The release ports over all of the extras from the
Collector's Edition DVD release (minus the film's soundtrack CD). This
also boosts the supplements to a moderate HD encode, providing a minor
clarity on the extras (though it should be noted that some footage came
from a standard
The features include:
Booking the Flight: The Script, The Story
(8 min.) is an overview of the film's
being a script Spielberg read over a weekend amidst several other
didn't enjoy as much, and to the hiring of additional screenwriters to
forming the final product. Screenwriters in the process and Spielberg
the evolution of the film's story and underlying themes.
Waiting for the Flight: Building The Terminal
min.) is a piece about the process involved in building the massive
was an actual Terminal that was built specifically for the film's
Boarding: The People of the Terminal (32
min.) is a three-part featurette focusing
on some of
the character's that populate the film's storyline. It's three parts
Hanks is "Viktor" (8 min.),
Catherine Zeta Jones is "Amelia" (9 min.), and Viktor's
World (15 min.)
Take Off: Making The Terminal (17 min.) is
making-of piece that covers various stages of production and features
interviews with the filmmakers and crew involved in the production.
In Flight Service: The Music of The Terminal
is a brief overview at some of the ways
John Williams score helped to bring major movie magic to the
Williams provides details about both his and Spielberg's thoughts on
requirements of the music. A few words
are shared about the storytelling importance of a few of the score's
Landing: Airport Stories (6 min.) features
discussing their stories from the set during filming.
Photo Gallery includes production photos . Lastly,
theatrical trailers are included for The Terminal.
The Terminal is a seriously underrated gem
Steven Spielberg's filmography. It's one of the most charming and
movies from the 2000's and the story and filmmaking adds up to a
and meaningful story that is one of the best told by its director.
This film might not have been as successful for
career but it's a movie that manages to make me smile every time I see
Movies like this are the reason I love movies in the first place. When I think of "magic in movies" I
think of Spielberg, and a film as full of beauty as The Terminal
large reason why.
The Terminal is a heartfelt film that is
made with an interesting script, great acting, impeccable direction, a
score, and one of the most underrated production designs ever utilized
film. After all, an entire airport terminal was built just so that the
could be as effective as it needed to be throughout filming. That's an
incredible feat that should have been able to net the film some more
that is still deserves.
I give this film my highest recommendation: the
coveted DVD Talk Collector Series.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.