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</script></div>{/googleAds}If there is an unoffensive movie in these modern times, The Terminal would be it. Steven Spielberg has constructed a fairly simple, unobtrusive, and ultimately unremarkable film, yet it is so likeable and, well, nice, that it's difficult to point a critical finger at it. Too many films attempt to be more than they're worth. This is an example of a movie that is exactly what it is supposed to be, nothing more, nothing less. In that sense, it hits the mark far more often than ambitious but overwrought sentimentals like Pretty Woman or Big, both of which were uneven, despite their big themes.

Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a traveler from the fictional country of Krakozhia, who is stranded at JFK International Airport after a war breaks out in his country, disrupting the government and voiding his passport and entrance papers. He is forced to live in the international lounge under the baleful eye of Stanley Tucci's Frank Dixon, an uptight airport executive who is at first sympathetic, if not overly helpful, to Navorski's plight. As Navorski's stay begins to grate on Dixon's sense of responsibility and desire to be free of the immigration nuisance, Dixon antagonizes Navorski at ever escalating levels.

In the meantime, Navorski continues to run into stewardess Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who is a mixed up bag of emotion and adultery. Their burgeoning relationship grows between flights as Navorski learns English and she learns how to overcome her insecurities.

Along the way, Navorski meets a host of multi-ethnic characters who seem to embody the best of American immigration niceties and reveals the contents of a mysterious peanut jar that he's carried around for the entire film.

It's easy to be cynical about such a film. The love story is cheesy and at times sits on the edge of improbability. The situation itself is absurd and mostly unrealistic, despite it being loosely based on true events. The characters seem unnuanced and simple. And the product placement is near shameless.

Yet for this film, it works. Navorski's simple goals and simple reaction to what would truly be a distressing scenario is a delightful response to our heavy-handed theatrics encountered in most movies. His response to people around him, his location and journey from silent watcher to public doer, his adaptability are all refreshing to see. And he does it all so politely.

The tagline "Life is waiting" is appropriate in many ways, but most importantly, it extends the invitation to view life not as a means to an end, but as a ever present flow of people and circumstances in which we are called to respond in a manner that befits dignity and laughter and large-mindedness. Navorski is the embodiment of the best attributes of a person, and his passive triumph over Dixon's bureaucratic inanities is a triumph for the audience who have all spent, at one time or another, waiting in line or at an airport or bus stop, or who have simply been corralled by the system.

In all, The Terminal is a delightful film that benefits from its solid cast, its inoffensiveness, and its charming and approachable themes.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1

Subtitles: French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Featurettes:
o Booking the Flight: The Script The Story
o Waiting for the Flight: Building The Terminal
o Boarding: The People of the Terminal
o Take Off: Making of The Terminal
o Landing: Airport Stories
* Text/Photo Galleries:
o The Production Notes
o Photo Gallery
* Additional products:
o The Terminal CD Soundtrack

Number of discs: 2 disc set

Packaging: Snap Case