The Terminal

Release Date: June 18, 2004

For his next trick, Pagoda will stick you in the gut with a shiv.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
14/92 David Mumpower Probably too genteel for most, I found the timeless nature of it indicative of a movie that will stand the test of time.
27/126 Kim Hollis Tom Hanks is terrific in this touching character study. It's like Cast Away in an airport.
38/48 Les Winan The film's pace matches what it feels like to be stuck in an airport, and that's not a good thing.
42/55 Reagen Sulewski Great performance from Hanks; Spielberg turns the schlock dial up to 11. There's a greater movie hiding in here.
118/133 Dan Krovich Ironic from its title that I thought it would never end.

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Terminal is the third big-screen collaboration between Hollywood heavy-hitters and good friends Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. The film will have Hanks portraying a man fleeing his war-torn Eastern European country whose credentials become basically worthless en route, when the war blurs borders and his country, in essence, ceases to exist. Considered an illegal immigrant when he lands in New York, he is not allowed to actually enter the US, but also cannot be deported, as there is no longer a country to which he can be returned. He remains virtually imprisoned in the airport while bureaucrats determine his fate. However, when he falls in love with a pretty flight attendant, he plans a daring escape that he hopes will gain him not only his freedom, but the woman he loves.

Terminal may be based, at least in part, on the real-life story of Merhan Karimi Nasseri, a man of Iranian and British descent who has been stuck in Charles DeGaulle Airport since 1989, when the briefcase containing his refugee documents was stolen and he became essentially a modern-day Man Without a Country. Given the romantic elements involved, one would believe the film’s story will have a happier ending than Nasseri’s, whose decade-plus of living in an airport terminal has left him somewhat mad, so much so that even though the red tape preventing him from leaving the airport has been cleared and he now has access to papers that would allow him to immigrate, he stubbornly remains, insisting on being declared a British citizen and being allowed to settle in Great Britain before he will depart Charles DeGaulle.

Catherine Zeta Jones will play Hanks' flight attendant love interest (did she learn *nothing* from Gwyneth's disastrous turn in A View From the Top?) The obligatory bureaucrat foil for our would-be immigrant will be handled by the always amusing Stanley Tucci who plays an airport immigration official who becomes obsessed with ridding himself of the pesky Viktor problem. He is assisted by Zoe Saltana (the cute female pirate who slaps Jack Sparrow for sinking her ship in Pirates of the Caribbean). Other airport workers include Chi McBride (Boston Public, Undercover Brother) plays an "entrepreneurial" baggage handler who befriends Hanks and the sexy/goofy Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) as a food service worker.

Lastly, as a special treat for those of us here at BOP, Wes Anderson favorite Kumar Pallana will make an appearance as.....a stranded Cirque du Soleil player? Ok, we can't really tell from the publicity stills exactly what he's doing, but we can see that it somehow involves juggling. And this pleases us.

Terminal also raises the dreaded spectre of The Accent, a stumbling block for many a big American male star portraying a character whose native language is different from his own (women and our brethren from the UK and Australia seem to have less trouble in this arena). For every Robin Williams (Moscow on the Hudson) and Brad Pitt (The Devil’s Own), there is a Harrison Ford (K-19) or Nicolas Cage (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin). Recent film history is littered with the carcasses of movies that have been derailed, at least in part, courtesy of the atrocious accent adopted by the lead, the most notorious, of course, being Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (not to be outdone, Costner has gone on to exhibit horrible accents in JFK and 13 Days). One fervently hopes that Hanks avoids these pitfalls by either adopting an accent that not only sounds convincing but that he can maintain, or by taking the Errol Flynn/George Clooney route and eschewing an accent altogether rather than distracting the audience with Badsky Accentsky.

Accent aside, given the high profile of the key players, Terminal will certainly receive a great deal of attention and quite the marketing build-up from DreamWorks. Once a release date is set and filming nears its end, we should have a better feel for the direction the campaign will take and the obstacles the film may need to overcome to attain box office success. But with Hanks and Spielberg involved, the film will almost certainly see a decent opening weekend; how well it does beyond that will depend not only on the marketing, but on critical reception and the all-important word-of-mouth. We’ll update you with more information as it becomes available. (Stephanie Star Smith/Jennifer Turnock/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Terminal
Main Cast Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Supporting Cast Chi McBride, Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Jude Ciccolella, Eddie Jones, Kumar Pallana
Director Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter Sacha Gervasi, Jeff Nathanson, Andrew Niccol (story)
Distributor DreamWorks
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 128 minutes
Screen Count 2,811
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Terminal
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Catch Me If You Can 12/27/0230.08 31.27 3156 9532.00 9532.0 164.61 171.14 4.85
Sleepless in Seattle 6/26/9317.25 25.12 1579 10925.00 15305.6 126.68 184.50 7.34
Addicted to Love * 5/23/9711.45 15.04 2007 5705.00 7208.9 34.67 45.54 3.03
French Kiss 5/5/959.02 12.50 1721 5241.00 6988.0 38.86 53.86 4.31
One Fine Day 12/20/966.23 8.49 1946 3201.00 4200.4 46.11 62.90 7.40



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