Movie The Terminal: Steven Spielberg’s rare comedy flick rediscovered!

I consider it a lucky coincidence that I found this movie called The Terminal (2004) directed by Steven Spielberg on a streaming platform. My surprise was beyond measure when I saw the genre described in the details of the comedy film! Well, it doesn’t have to be just my ignorance of this great filmmaker; because most of Spielberg’s bios or filmographies never single out or mention said film, even though the film was a commercial success. The Terminal tells the delightful story of a character named Viktor Navorski from Eastern Europe (meaning the Russian Republic) who arrives at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on a private mission, only to be in the meantime ( fictional) homeland of Kakrojhia had experienced a military coup and taken over a new government. Because the US was not yet ready to recognize the new government, Viktor’s passport had expired and the airport attendant took away all his documents, including the passport, which denied him entry into New York City or his return home. Played by none other than greatest actor Tom Hanks, Viktor Navorski doesn’t speak much English and endures a series of hilarious misadventures during his nine-month stay in the terminal. We’ll come back to the film a little later.

Steven Spielberg had become a household name in the US after his blockbuster “Jaws” in 1975; and if he was still not a household name in most other countries like India, his ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ in 1977, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ in 1981, ‘ET the Extra Terrestrial’ in 1982, his creation of the Indiana Jones franchise in 1984 and his two major productions in 1993, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, have made him more than that, almost a living legend of world cinema. Spielberg is still considered Hollywood’s most commercially successful director to this day, with nearly every film he has achieved blockbuster status, critical acclaim, and Oscar nominations and awards. He has received three Oscars, two of them for Best Director for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan (1998) and one for Best Picture for Schindler’s List, apart from 7 Best Director nominations. His films have garnered a whopping 133 Academy nominations and 34 Oscars in multiple categories, in addition to BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. His other notable honors include the Cecil B. DeMille Award and the AFI Life Achievement Award. Still not retired at 74, Steven Spielberg is still making films, sometimes on temporary hiatus.

See also  Adult Movie Nights: The best late night you can have

Watching Jaws and Jurassic Park had been an extremely exhilarating experience for most Indians like me, and it was through films like this that we could understand the arduous efforts of the director, who often risked his own life in the difficult filming – undoubtedly at All this he made his first film experiment at the tender age of 12, thus dedicating his whole life to art and making world cinema even richer and more entertaining. After working for a number of years in the New Hollywood era, which included several television episodes and minor films for Universal Studios, he had his breakthrough role in 1975’s Jaws when he was just in his 30s. Spielberg rightly declined to do a Jaws sequel, as other filmmakers’ sequels can never live up to the unique and still spine-tingling original. However, he directed a sequel to Jurassic Park called The Lost World – Jurassic Park in 1997 when the author of the original came out with his second book, and that film was also a commercial and critical success.

Something follows from the above narrative that most of us always thought of Spielberg as a serious filmmaker who also achieved great commercial success for his universally appealing storytelling and dedicated endeavors. We never imagined he could make a film in the lighter comedy genre. Perhaps it was just an experiment for this great filmmaker, and he did it beautifully too – taking inspiration from a true event at Paris airport, creating interesting characters including a romantic angle, and constructing a massive film set along the lines of the JFK Airport New York.

See also  The best gangster movies

Well, getting back to The Terminal, the 2 hour and 9 minute film doesn’t have a single dull moment, tickling your funny bones the whole time as Tom Hanks stumbles along in his brilliantly cultivated broken Russian or Bulgarian English while he’s chatting with the The possessed bypasses airport attendants, security personnel, and the various counter officers. His character also becomes emotionally involved with a stewardess played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, an Indian cleaning lady, a desk clerk with whom a cafeteria boy was romantically involved, and various other delightful characters and episodes. Hanks’ character Viktor also bails out a native of his region through his intelligent use of interpretation and deceives the horrified warden. The film also keeps the suspense about what’s inside the tin can that Viktor lovingly pulls out again and again and that the boss, who wanted to get rid of him either at the police station or at the FBI, is dying to know. Such delicious elements are better left to those who also want to rediscover this comedy-drama film by one of the legendary directors, producers and writers of world cinema.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.