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An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there.
For more about The Terminal and the The Terminal Blu-ray release, see the The Terminal Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 26, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Kumar Pallana, Diego Luna (I), Chi McBride
Director: Steven Spielberg
» See full cast & crew
The Terminal Blu-ray Review
This Blu-ray is anything but "unacceptable."
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 26, 2014
Welcome to the United States. Almost.
Sometimes the worst situations bring out the best in a man. Director Steven Spielberg's (Amistad) funny, charming, and uplifting film The Terminal tells the story of a man physically lost and restrained but emotionally settled, mentally focused, and spiritually grounded even as he can barely communicate, struggles to eat, only slowly puts together the truths behind his unusual confinement, and discovers the destinies that await him along his unique journey that sees his isolation slowly erode and evolve in one of the world's busiest places. The picture offers a pleasantly deep but accessible narrative, plenty of humor, an abundance of heart, and a purpose that examines the virtues of right living, the rewards of commitment, and the values of friendship even when life challenges a man to his very core.
Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) is an Eastern European who, while flying into New York's JFK, becomes "unacceptable" when a military coup in his native Krakozhia renders his passport obsolete. Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), JFK's Director of Customs and Border Protection, has neither the power to detain him nor release him into New York. Viktor is forced to remain in the airport's international transit lounge. He's provided with a beeper so he may be notified of any change to his status, a telephone calling card, an ID badge, and a few food vouchers. His stay slowly grows from hours to days and from days to months. He earns food money be returning airport carts to their storage racks for a quarter apiece. He slowly befriends several of the airport's custodial, baggage, and food service personnel. He finds purpose when he facilities a burgeoning romance between a lovestruck food service worker and a customs agent. He also develops a relationship with a stewardess (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who is a hopeless romantic in search of Mr. Right. As his time slowly pushes forward, he awaits his opportunity to leave the airport, enter New York, and fulfill the very specific purpose for which he originally traveled halfway around the world.
The Terminal may very well be the hidden gem in Steven Spielberg's canon, a film that doesn't enjoy quite the notoriety of his others, that didn't win many awards or earn many nominations, and that doesn't spring immediately to mind like Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, or Jurassic Park. Yet it is, arguably, the most quintessential feel-good film he's made, an experience quite unlike anything else, an externally simple but inwardly robust jaunt through the life of a man whose sidetracked existence becomes a winding road towards greater self-understanding, self-control, friendship, and destiny. the film captures not just that unmissable Spielberg magic but that unmistakable cinema magic. It's a true work of art, depicting the human spirit embodied in a tale of isolation juxtaposed against crowded chaos through which the character discovers or reaffirms the values of genuine integrity, friendship, and love. Through these things, the film further examines the modern world of complex globalism, politics, rules and regulations, and the skills necessary to both survive and even thrive as a small piece in a much larger and inescapable, but not completely immutable, world.
That exploration of man's ability to thrive is perhaps the film's tightest area of focus and key to its success. The picture skillfully demonstrates that life isn't so much about "where" but about "how." In The Terminal, Viktor is, through no fault of his own, dealt a lousy hand. It's the story, then, of how he copes with his dilemma -- a dilemma that grows figurative tentacles determined to hold him down -- both inwardly and outwardly. It's outwardly where the film finds most of its humor, but it's inwardly where it finds most of its heart. The film champions the notion of perseverance, of moving forward rather than giving up, of maintaining an effort for self-improvement when circumstances dictate that there's no good that can come from a bad situation. It's about emerging stronger, holding out for the better, and reaffirming personal convictions. It's a film about growth and steadfastness, about not just making do but making new, about the best man has to offer not so much in the face of the worst life has to offer, but certainly against life's most comical, absurd, physically taxing, and emotionally draining circumstances.
Tom Hanks gives another remarkable performance that's equal to and in sync with the film's incredible tonal balance. Hanks effortlessly captures the essence of a man out of place, unable to fully communicate, and only slowly able to grasp the gravity and reality of his situation. His ability to blend serious drama, honest character advancement, and precision humor is uncanny; every moment is a pleasure, from the funniest bits to the most heartfelt scenes. Hanks acts as well physically as he does verbally, telling the story, sharing his feelings, and forwarding his character as much with a look and a body shift as with broken English and a big smile. His supporting cast is fantastic, too, but it's Hanks' movie to be sure, proving again to be a once-in-a-generation talent and in many ways the perfect match for Steven Spielberg considering his ability to light up the screen and convey that same sense of medium magic that the director so effortlessly, eloquently, and frequently displays.
The Terminal Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Terminal lands on Blu-ray with a very favorable, good-looking, and highly cinematic 1080p transfer. The film begins with a grain structure that's somewhat spiky and favors the feel of slight artificial sharpening. It's smooth sailing afterward, however. The transfer settles into a very handsome one, retaining a less pronounced but intact grain field that helps to accentuate fine details, particularly the assortment of clothes seen throughout the film, from suits to janitorial attire, from flight attendant uniforms to more relaxed costumes. It also showcases intimate facial details with relative ease, while also displaying all of the odds and ends and nooks and crannies around the airport -- both in the main area and back in the run down construction sites -- with pinpoint accuracy. Colors are even and pleasing throughout as well. The film's open, bright terminal location allows objects to soak up a tremendous amount of light and reveal cheery, balanced colors, from storefront signage to clothes. Lower-light shots never want for better defined colors under such parameters. Black levels are rather deep but drift slightly towards crush in a few instances. Flesh tones appear natural. Overall, this is a high end transfer from Paramount.
The Terminal Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Terminal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack effectively places the listener inside the international transit lounge. It's a relatively simple track, all things considered, featuring well-defined and suitably spacious atmospherics in the form of airport public address announcements and the general din of busy travelers walking, talking, and shopping. John Williams' score is rather light throughout, and the presentation is true; it's nicely defined and airy, effortlessly flowing into the stage and supported by both strong clarity at the top and middle and a nice little weight at the bottom. Dialogue dominates the experience, however. The spoken word plays with commendable effortlessness and accuracy from the front-center portion of the soundstage. This track won't push a sound system to its limits, but it's nicely enveloping and a fine compliment to a wonderful film.
The Terminal Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Terminal features an array of older supplements presented in standard definition. Additionally, a photo gallery and two trailers appear in high definition.
The Terminal Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Terminal ranks as one of the best movies ever not to receive any sort of Oscar nomination, and frankly, it ranks as one of the better movies out there, period. It's quintessential cinema, a down-to-earth, honest, hopeful, funny, moving, lightly romantic, and dramatically relevant film that embodies the term "movie magic" in every scene. It's brilliantly acted and strongly directed, finding effortless flow, structure, and purpose in every shot. Paramount's Blu-ray release of The Terminal features outstanding video and audio. Supplements are comprised, primarily, of older standard definition featurettes. The absence of a digital copy is disappointing. Very highly recommended.
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The Terminal Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: May 6-13 - May 3, 2014
For the week of May 6th, Warner Home Entertainment is bringing the Veronica Mars movie to Blu-ray. Other Tuesday titles include the Steven Spielberg-catalog titles Amistad and The Terminal, the raunchy farces Bachelor Party and Revenge of the Nerds, and Criterion's ...
• The Terminal Blu-ray - February 20, 2014
Paramount Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of director Steven Spielberg's The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna and Chi McBride. The 2004 romantic comedy/drama arrives on Blu-ray on May 6th.
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