Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Spielberg|
|Produced by||Steven Spielberg |
Walter F. Parkes
|Screenplay by||Sacha Gervasi |
|Story by||Andrew Niccol |
|Starring||Tom Hanks |
Barry Shabaka Henley
|Music by||John Williams|
|Editing by||Michael Kahn|
|Studio||Amblin Entertainment |
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||128 minutes|
The Terminal is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is about a man trapped in a terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country, the fictitious Krakozhia, due to a revolution. The film is partially inspired by the 17-year-stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Terminal I, Paris, France from 1988 to 2006.
Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives at JFK International Airport, but finds that his passport is suddenly not valid, so he is not allowed to enter the United States. While he was en route to the U.S., a revolution was started in his home nation of Krakozhia. Due to the civil war, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation and denies Viktor's entrance to the U.S. territory. He is unable to leave the airport, but he is also unable to return to Krakozhia, Viktor instead lives in the terminal, carrying his luggage and a mysterious Planters peanut can.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Head Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) wants Navorski removed from the airport. Navorski collects money for food by retrieving vacant baggage trolleys for the 25-cent reward from the machine, until Dixon prevents this. He then befriends a catering car driver named Enrique Cruz (Diego Luna) who gives him food in exchange for information about Customs and Border Protection officer Dolores Torres (Zoë Saldana), with whom Enrique is infatuated with. With Viktor's help, Enrique and Dolores eventually marry each other. He meets flight attendant Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who asks him out to dinner, but he tries to earn money in order to ask Amelia out instead. He finally gets an off-the-books job as a construction worker at the airport earning $19 an hour (more money than Dixon makes), and he also learns to speak fluent English.
Viktor is asked to interpret for a desperate Russian man with undocumented drugs for his sick father. Viktor claims it is "medicine for goat," barring the drug from confiscation and resolving the crisis. Under pressure and the watchful eye of the Airport Ratings committee, who is evaluating Dixon for an upcoming promotion, Dixon has a falling out with Viktor. Though Dixon is advised that sometimes rules must be ignored, he becomes obsessed with getting Viktor ejected from the airport. An airport janitor, Rajan Gupta (Kumar Pallana), exaggerates the "goat" incident to his fellow co-workers and as a result, Viktor earns the respect and admiration of all of the airport staff.
One day, Viktor explains to Amelia that the purpose of his visit to New York is to collect an autograph from the tenor saxophonist Benny Golson. It is revealed that the peanut can Viktor carries with him contains nothing more than an autographed copy of the "Great Day in Harlem" photograph. His late father was a jazz enthusiast who had discovered the famous portrait in a Hungarian newspaper in 1958, and vowed to get an autograph of all the 57 jazz musicians featured on the photograph. He succeeded in obtaining 56, but he died before he could finish his collection, so Viktor traveled to New York to obtain the autograph, so he can finish his collection.
After 9 months of living on the JFK terminal, he is awaken by Enrique and the other friends, who inform him that the war in Krakozhia is now ended, but Dixon will still not allow Viktor to enter the United States. Amelia reveals that she had asked her 'friend' — actually a married government official with whom she had been having an affair — to assist Viktor in obtaining permission to travel within the U.S., but Viktor is disappointed to learn she has renewed her relationship with the man during this process.
To make matters worse, Dixon needs to sign the form granting Viktor the right to remain in the United States, but refuses. He instead blackmails Viktor into returning to Krakozhia, or he will have Mulroy fired for having evening poker games with friends and bringing marijuana into the airport, have Enrique fired for allowing Viktor into the restricted food preparation area and deport Gupta back to his native India, where he is wanted for assaulting a corrupt police officer back in 1978. Upon hearing this, Gupta runs in front of Viktor's plane and asks Viktor to go anyway. The plane is delayed, giving Viktor enough time to go into the city and obtain the autograph. With the blessing of the entire airport staff, Viktor leaves the airport after receiving a uniform coat from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Port Director and hails a taxi.
Dixon, watching Viktor leave the airport, decides not to pursue him. As Viktor prepares to take the taxi to a Ramada Inn where Benny Golson is performing, he observes Amelia exiting from a cab, where she gives him a wistful smile, telling him to go. He has a short conversation with the cab driver, telling him how to avoid traffic on the way to the hotel and that he is from Krakozhia. The driver tells Viktor that he is from Albania and arrived earlier that week. At the hotel, Benny Golson is doing a sound check and asks Viktor to wait while he finishes his rehearsal. Viktor listens to him play and collects the autograph, finally completing the collection. Afterwards, Viktor leaves and hails a taxi, telling the driver, "I am going home."
- Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski the main protagonist and a native of the fictional Krakozhia, forced to remain in the airport after his country goes into civil war.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones as Amelia Warren, a flight attendant whom Viktor develops feelings for.
- Stanley Tucci as Frank Dixon, the main antagonist and the head of security who is trying to kick Navorski out of the airport.
- Barry Shabaka Henley as Thurman
- Kumar Pallana as Rajan Gupta, an Indian janitor in America due to a warrant for his arrest back in India.
- Diego Luna as Enrique Cruz, a luggage sorter who befriends Viktor.
- Chi McBride as Mulroy
- Zoë Saldana as Dolores Torres, an Immigration officer who marries Enrique. It was stated that Dolores was a Trekkie. Saldana would later portray Uhura in the Star Trek reboot.
- Eddie Jones as Salchak
- Jude Ciccolella as Karl Iverson
- Corey Reynolds as Waylin
- Guillermo Diaz as Bobby Alima
- Rini Bell as Nadia
- Benny Golson as himself
- Valery Nikolaev as Milodragovich
- Stephen Mendel as First Class Steward
- Scott Adsit as Cab driver
Some have noted that the film appears to be inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived in Terminal One of the Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris from 1988 when his refugee papers were stolen until 2006 when he was hospitalized for unspecified ailments. In September 2003, The New York Times noted that Spielberg bought the rights to Nasseri's life story as the basis for the film; and in September 2004 The Guardian noted Nasseri received thousands of dollars from the filmmakers. However, none of the studio's publicity materials mention Nasseri's story as an inspiration for the film.
Steven Spielberg traveled around the world to find an actual airport that would let him film for the length of the production, but could not find one. The Terminal set was built in a massive hangar at the LA/Palmdale Regional Airport. The hangar, part of the U.S. Air Force Plant 42 complex was used to build the Rockwell International B-1B bomber. The set was built to full earthquake construction codes and was based on the Düsseldorf International Airport. The shape of both the actual terminal and the set viewed sideways is a cross section of an aircraft wing. The design of the set for The Terminal, as noted by Roger Ebert in his reviews and attested by Spielberg himself in a feature by Empire magazine, was greatly inspired by Jacques Tati's classic film Play Time.
Everything functioned in the set as in real life. There was real food, ice cream and coffee in the appropriate outlets. The escalators were purchased from a department store that had gone bankrupt. Each of the outlets featured in the concourse building was actually sponsored by the real company. Many stores are seen and Viktor seeks a job at the Brookstone, la Perla and Discovery Channel stores, eats at the Burger King, buys his New York City guide book at Borders and buys his suit at Hugo Boss. Enrique proposes to Dolores at Sbarro.
Most exterior shots and those featuring actual aircraft were shot at Montréal-Mirabel International Airport: additional interior shots were also done there including the mezzanine overlooking the immigration desks and the baggage carousels directly behind them, the jetways showing Aéroports de Montréal signs, and many Air Transat planes in the background: New York is not one of their regular destinations. Additional pre-production shooting was done at Los Angeles International Airport and at Spielberg's offices at Amblin. Montreal is also mentioned on the loudspeaker at the beginning of the film, around the point where the customs officer tells Viktor to wait in a special line.
The 747 was provided by United Airlines. The Star Alliance was a major sponsor and provided uniforms, equipment, and actors in addition to those cast. In spite of the heavy presence of the Star Alliance airlines, a Delta Air Lines pilot passes Viktor in a scene during the last five minutes of the film.
The Terminal received mixed reactions from critics; Rotten Tomatoes reported that 60% of 198 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it got a rating average of 6.2 out of 10. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 55 based on 41 reviews. Michael Wilmington from the Chicago Tribune said "[the film] takes Spielberg into realms he's rarely traveled before." A. O. Scott of The New York Times said Hanks' performance brought a lot to the film. However, Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal thought that "The Terminal is a terminally fraudulent and all-but-interminable comedy."
The film grossed $77,872,883 in North America and $141,544,372 in other territories, totaling $219,417,255 worldwide.
Krakozhia (Кракозия or Кракожия) is a fictional country created for the film, that closely resembles a former Soviet Republic. The Krakozhian language is very similar to Bulgarian. From January 16, 2004 to November 2004, the country experienced a civil war. When the war began, the President of the country was held hostage and a new regime installed, leading to Viktor finding his passport and visa useless. Consequently, Viktor must stay in the airport terminal for nine months, as the United States refuses to recognize the new Krakozhian government, after which peace is declared in Krakozhia and he is able to return home.
The exact location of Krakozhia is kept intentionally vague in the film, keeping with the idea of Viktor being simply Eastern European or from a former Soviet Republic. However in one of the scenes, a map of Krakozhia is briefly displayed on one of the airport's television screens during a news report on the ongoing conflict. The country's borders and location are those of the Republic of Macedonia. Throughout the film, it is learned that the Krakozhian language is mutually intelligible with Russian, and that the Krakozhian national anthem is musically close to that of Albania (or the tune of Vajacki marš). Little else is known about Krakozhia, except that there was a lot of fighting which made the international news. The film mentions that rebels have taken the "northern area" of Krakozhia. The cover of the passport that Viktor shows to the customs officer in one of the initial scenes of the film closely resembles a Soviet passport. His driver's license is Belarusian. One can see the words Вадзіцельскае пасведчанне (Vadzicielskaje pasviedczannie), which means driver's license in Belarusian and the name of the Belarusian city of Homel.
The language which Hanks' character speaks in the film, "Krakozhian", is actually slightly-accented literary Bulgarian (which is indeed mutually intelligible with Russian to an extent). Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, whose father is a Bulgarian, is reported to have coached Hanks in Bulgarian in the course of the shooting of the film. In the same line the name of Viktor's father is Dimitar Asenov Navorski, shaped after the Bulgarian three-section pattern and contains one name popular among contemporary Bulgarians—Dimitar (Димитър). The patronymic Asenov derives from one Bulgarian medieval dynasty and was borne by several Bulgarian Tsars, Ivan Asen II for example.
Krakozhia's name was inspired by one of Spielberg's favorite cities – Kraków in Poland.
The film presents a reasonably accurate picture of the process of naturalistic second language acquisition, according to professional linguist Martha Young-Scholten.
John Williams, the film's composer, also wrote a national anthem for Krakozhia.
- Mehran Karimi Nasseri
- Stateless person
- Hiroshi Nohara
- Zahra Kamalfar
- Sanjay Shah
- The Terminal at Box Office Mojo
- Ethan Gilsdorf, Behind 'The Terminal,' a true story, The Christian Science Monitor, June 21, 2004, Accessed December 5, 2010.
- Life in the lounge, BBC
- Matthew Rose, Waiting For Spielberg, The New York Times, September 21, 2003, Accessed June 12, 2008.
- Berczeller, Paul (September 6, 2004). "The man who lost his past". The Guardian. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved May 5, 2007.
- "The Terminal (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- "The Terminal reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Movie review: 'The Terminal'. Retrieved on July 1, 2008.
- Movie review: The Terminal, by The New York Times Retrieved on July 1, 2008.
- Review summary from the Wall Street Journal Retrieved on July 1, 2008.
- Young-Scholten, Martha. "Hollywood: smarter than you think? Maybe". class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved December 25, 2007. Abstract for talk given at the University of Leeds Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, 26 April 2006.
- The Terminal soundtrack review at Filmtracks.com
- Official website
- The Terminal at the Internet Movie Database
- The Terminal at AllRovi
- The Terminal at Box Office Mojo
- The Terminal at Rotten Tomatoes
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