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The Terminal

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Instead of just dropping this in the Trailer thread, I think this one's significant enough to start a thread and speculation/discussion.

I'm very excited about "the new Spielberg." I liked Catch Me If You Can very much, and I'm far more interested in seeing Spielberg pursue intimate character dramas like this than I am inseeing Spielberg-Cruise's War of the Worlds.

What do you think of THIS TRAILER?

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I really don't know, Jeffrey. I really don't know. Maybe I'm saturated with Tom Hanks. Maybe I've lost touch with the suspension of disbelief this type of comedy requires. Maybe I just don't like the editing of the trailer--it's horribly typical, with nothing in it I haven't seen in the last couple of years from this genre; it's very carbon-copy, quirky-foreigner-in-situation-beyond-his-control-with-beautiful-woman-charmed-by-his-antics fare.

Maybe I'm just feeling cynical today.

Maybe I'm just jealous that Hanks gets to work with Spielberg again.

Maybe I'm just too demanding.

Maybe I'm just like my father....too bold.

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Maybe I'm just jealous that Hanks gets to work with Spielberg again.

...or is it because he gets Catherine Zeta-Jones to put the moves on him?!? :wink:

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Maybe you're just like my mother. She's never satisfied.

Ahem. Anyway, it looks to me like a great premise squandered on a rote love story -- probably in a similar way to how CMIYC was a great premise squandered on a rote son

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I thought the trailer looked pretty good, but then again I am probably the biggest Steven Spielberg fan on the boards (I even like Hook). Nice to see Stanley Tucci in something again.

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As much as I've enjoyed Spielberg's change in movies since Saving Private Ryan, the trailer makes this look like a run of the mill romantic comedy.

I'm hoping otherwise.

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I think it looks very promising! A unique story. The romance worries me too and the line "That is something a man like you could never understand." But a lot of it looks great. The movie looked very pretty in a brand new airport sterile kind of way. As it should.

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High praise indeed from Poland. This Spielberg fan is now excited. smile.gif

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As much as I've enjoyed Spielberg's change in movies since Saving Private Ryan, the trailer makes this look like a run of the mill romantic comedy.

I'm hoping otherwise.

Y'know the thing about Spielberg is that he just tells great stories through film, no matter what the genre.

I used to be able to say the same for Ron Howard. Sigh.

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I remember reading a news story a couple of years back similar to this. Someone wanted to either leave the U.S. or come into the U.S., and wasn't allowed because of visa issues, I think. Does anyone else remember the story, and if that's what this movie is (loosely) based on?

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The movie was inspired by a true story, yes. But Spielberg took it and ran with it, turning it into something quite different. I don't have the details, but I remember that the story first broke as Spielberg doing a movie about a real guy stuck in this situation.

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Saw it last night. (Spoilers only of the sort that I would consider fair game in a review.)

It's a lot like Catch Me If You Can: a light comedy of the improbable, well-researched enough to seem persuasively plausible; engagingly anarchic, equal parts sophistication and naivete, with undercurrents of tragedy rooted in infidelity and marital breakdown. Also, it features Tom Hanks with a put-on accent being funnier than he's been in a long time.

Unfortunately, there are also more glaring weaknesses this time around.

On the up side:

I liked the Hanks character, Navorski, a lot, and his interactions with various characters, especially Catherine Zeta-Jones's flight attendant and a female immigration officer, are enjoyable and well-done. Some funny consequences and developments of his predicament (would have liked to see some of these pushed a bit further; the conceit relating to how familiar Navorski becomes with the layout of the terminal could have been parleyed into a nice running joke, instead of being deployed primarily for one gag in the service of the plot).

Some very nice direction from Spielberg, including the familiar shot of Navorski looking at his reflection in the clothing-store window, his reflected head superimposed on the suited mannequins.

In one scene Spielberg closes in on Navorski and the Zeta-Jones character, Amelia, conversing through a yellow-tinted store window, and as the camera approached the window I more than half expected it to push through the glass, and waited for the color shift accompanying the moment of transition. That it never came, that the camera stayed behind the glass, nicely resonated both with the ordinary real-world physicality of the terminal itself as well as the sense in which the terminal poses a barrier for Navorski, and perhaps also with the sense of other barriers and obstacles in the story that can't or shouldn't be breached. (Am I reading too much into one take photographed through yellow glass?)

One small, nice detail: At one point Navorski crosses himself in prayer -- Eastern fashion, right to left. smile.gif

On the down side:

Although the main romantic subplot is generally handled with emotional intelligence and plausibility, a secondary romantic subplot turns startlingly cartoony and implausible in its treatment of love and even marriage. A climactic moment is so unearned that it doesn't even work as cornball romance; I actually found myself briefly wondering if I could have somehow missed a set of earlier interactions and conversations that would have set up the moment.

Worse is the Stanley Tucci character, who starts off as a human being but begins to go off the rails in an (I think) inexplicable scene involving a photocopier, the contrived payoff of which has no explanatory value regarding the original scene. By the end, Tucci's character makes no sense at all; there's just no earthly rationale for the lengths to which he takes his initially understandable unhappiness about Navorski.

Almost as off-putting is the utter incongruity between Hanks' mission in NYC, when we finally learn what it is, and what it ends up costing, especially for a supporting character (and possibly others as well). Spielberg teases us with a mysterious tin can that Navorski carries with him everywhere and even kisses on occasion; there's an obvious explanation for what could be in the can and what Navorski's NYC mission might be, but when everything is finally clear and Navorski realizes what going through with his mission will cost a number of friends he has made at the airport, he decides (not so terribly nobly, given what he wanted to do and what the cost would be) to leave his mission unfulfilled. What follows is a jaw-dropper, and not in a good way. One supporting character makes a sacrifice that seems really misguided -- and even if we disregard that, what about the other characters whom it's been established would be harmed if Navorski goes ahead with his plans? Are we just not supposed to think about them?

In the end, I think the feel-good factor and the stuff that works outweighs the stuff that doesn't, but only just. I'm thinking about rating it B-minus.

P.S. I read Poland's rave. I think he's goofy.

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Guest Russell Lucas

Until now, I never had a signature. It applies, though, in so many ways.

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SDG wrote:

: One small, nice detail: At one point Navorski crosses himself in prayer -- Eastern

: fashion, right to left.

Well, Tom Hanks married into the Greek Orthodox church, after all. Consider this interview with Nia Vardalos, circa the release of My Big Fat Greek Wedding:

Tom and Rita insisted on it to being Greek all the way. In fact, there was a scene where a character was wearing jeans and supposedly the family had just gotten back from church. Tom knew that no Greek Orthodox practitioner wears jeans to church, so he astutely made the appropriate changes that everyone else missed. So often the converts are more zealous than those born into the church.

Me, I wear jeans to church all the time, but then, we're OCA, not Greek.

smile.gif

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but then, we're OCA, not Greek.

smile.gif

We're OCA? Do you have an official update for us, Peter? Cuz we all know it's comin'. rolleyes.gif

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"Know" is too strong a word, anyway. "Suspect" is probably more accurate. But I'm curious as to what, exactly, is holding you back from making the jump. Your last several posts about the OCA have focused on what you like about that church, but I haven't seen you go into any theological detail about what might be holding you back. You do mention sociological draws and obstacles (the possibility of marriage, for example), but because of your Anabaptist grounding, I'm sure there's more to the story.

Are you reluctant to talk about it online? Granted, I don't read ever post, so I may have missed something, and this thread obviously isn't the best place for this discussion. So if you want to pick it up elsewhere, or PM me, that's fine. But because you've been so public about this process, I thought you might want to post openly -- maybe in a more appropriate thread -- about any hesitancy to take the dive into Orthodoxy.

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I can certainly relate to the obsessive need to tweak one's work. But in writing fiction at least, what I tweak is never the ending. The ending is always clear and strong in my mind before I get there; it's the particulars of how I get there that I forever poke and prod at, often long after the end is written.

So, Spielberg tweaked Terminal to make it LESS schmaltzy and Hollywood-commercial-predictable? Hm, what did it look like BEFORE?

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The ending is always clear and strong in my mind before I get there.

REALLY? Very interesting. The play I'm finishing I've known how everything will go up to THIS point. And I enter with fear and trepidation let me tell you. smile.gif

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Frankly, I'd be happy if he wanted to reshoot the last, oh, fifteen minutes of Minority Report.

Not to completely derail the thread, but I think the film is just about perfect up until the unneccessary epilogue. I like the confrontation sequence between Cruise and Von Sydow and even the end bit wasn't terrible. BTW, I watched this just a couple weeks ago after having not seen it since 2002 and it's getting stronger the more and more I see it. Such a compelling, interesting and well crafted film. In fact, one of the most finely crafted films I've ever seen.

However, I have yet to see The Terminal.

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I like the confrontation sequence between Cruise and Von Sydow and even the end bit wasn't terrible.

Ohhhhhhh, man.... you're opening a can of worms.

The movie totally falls apart for me once Cruise is "in the can."

spoilers1.gif

A few reasons I can't stand the ending.

A) They keep his eyes in the box with all that other stuff?

B ) It all turns on one of those "But I never mentioned that..." goof ups.

C) Wife just waltzes in to the high-security prison and busts out her husband.

D) Husband, in his sweats, just waltzes into a high-class event, grabs the guest of honor, pulls him out onto a balcony, and confronts him for several minutes while NO ONE NOTICES THEY'RE GONE.

I seriously wonder if the last section isn't Cruise's character's fantasy about how things will work out for him. Of course, his estranged wife will realize she loves him and come and set him free (with no trouble.) Of course he'll have no problem setting everything straight, with plenty of time to get things done, even though he's just busted outta prison. Of course he'll get to make a big speech with the Washington Monument as his backdrop. Of course the villain will commit suicide when confronted with his crimes. Of course, they'll all live happily ever after.

It really feels like the screenwriter meant for that last act to be a dream-sequence, while the director himself completely missed that idea and played it out as literal events.

Minority Report really is an entertaining film, but the more I watch it, the more it falls apart for me.

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