Friday, September 10, 2004

A Case of Terminal Stupidity.

Well we just got back from watching The Terminal. For a movie that was 2++ hours long, it wasn't a chore to sit through, as some idiot movie reviewer in the Life section of the Straits Times would have you believe.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. In vintage Spielberg fashion, the story follows the footsteps of an alien, someone who doesn't belong. It works and it works well largely because Tom "good guy" Hanks plays the role perfectly. The premise is simple. A man loses his country because of civil war and is unable to enter America because he neither has a valid visa / passport and cannot return home. The movie follows his life in the terminal as he finds a way to fit in, makes a whole load of friends and falls in love...among many, many things.
The movie's been criticised because people felt that it had great potential to be an allegory for the post 9/11 America and that it should have been more scathing about homeland security and all that schlock. Others say that it was trying to be too many things at once. What was it supposed to be? A romance? A political commentary?
How about this: It was a movie. A well made one...and if certain idiot reviewers could just take the blinders off their eyes for one moment, they'd see that The Terminal was indeed sufficiently allegorical to be an effective political commentary while being a movie that was ultimately about a nice guy. We don't need allegory thrown in our faces. There's a thing called subtlety. Say it with me people...especially Ms Ong at the back, SUBTLETY.
I thought that the Dixon character was quite a good representation of the whole "Homeland Security Act" that's turned the "poor huddled masses" into the security threat that they are today in the dear US of A. One of the most telling lines was the one that basically said that "America was closed". How's that for allegory?
Tucci was superbly casted as Dixon (he seems to thrive in all these roles). CZJones wasn't overexposed in her role and she seemed to fall into place instead of dominating the screen, a fault of her amazonian good looks and overwhelming star presence. She seemed to downplay herself quite well and for a few moments in the movie, we almost forgot that she was Zeta. :) Tom Hanks, a good everyman as always. The first 20 minutes with him running from television set to television set desperate for news of Krakozhia is a tear jerker...very believable and downright heartwrenching. Chi Mcbride, Diego Luna and Kumar Pallana are hilarious as the trio of goofballs who become part of Navorski's life in the terminal.
The story is character driven and because of the great cast, works well. If you want to take it one step further, consider this: The characters in the movie are all representative of one part of America or another. If you try applying that to CZJ's character, you'll see the movie in a rather interesting and whole new light. Think about the phrase she constantly uses over and over...and then see the movie for the beautiful allegory it is.
It would definately earn a "movie to catch" tag in my book for this season. And despite the two plus hour screen time, will not put you to sleep.


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