Spielberg doesn't live up potential, gets careless with 'Terminal'

By CAMERON CASPER

Student Writer

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reunite in "The Terminal" a dramedy about Viktor Navorski (Hanks), an Eastern European man who flees his war-torn country to New York City, only to discover that he has fallen through a crack in the customs system.

While he's in mid-air, a coup happens in his homeland, which makes his passport invalid. He can't go home, and he cannot leave JFK Airport.

So he starts living there.

He meets many friends at the airport, including a custodian named Gupta who is very protective over his cleaning supplies. And there is Enrique, the guy in charge of the in-flight meals who trades meals with Viktor for information about a woman he likes. He also meets Amelia, (Catherine Zeta-Jones) a beautiful flight attendant he woos.

"The Terminal" is probably Spielberg's worst film since "The Lost World."

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6/28/2004

I don't really care about any of the characters outside of Viktor. Hanks gives a very strong performance as the foreigner. He even dons a perfect broken English accent. He is the shining star in this otherwise barren landscape of talent. Even Catherine Zeta-Jones, who has proven her acting chops many times over, was very bland and unexciting in her role. I didn't really care if she and Viktor got together or not.

In fact, I really didn't care about any of the other countless subplots within this film.

I think Spielberg tried too hard when making this picture.

In an effort to add comedy, the movie relies on stupid sight gags such as Viktor having coins flung at him from a machine. It's really stupid humor that was unnecessary.

At 128 minutes, this is Spielberg's shortest film since "Jurassic Park." Even then, it felt like an eternity.

If there was another director behind "The Terminal," one who hasn't established himself as one of the greatest living directors like Spielberg, I would say this was a pretty decent film. But since it is coming from Spielberg, it doesn't meet his standards in the slightest bit.

The only redeeming aspect of the film is Tom Hank's brilliant performance. I would bet he could get an Oscar nod if the film was better.

Overall, this was not a very good film. I didn't care about the characters and I was bored most of the time. Avoid it, but if you do, go for Tom Hank's perfect performance.

Grade: C

Rated PG-13 for brief language and drug references.

Cameron Casper is a student at West Valley High School.