Movie The Terminal: Steven Spielberg’s Rare Comedy Flick Rediscovered!

I ponder over it a cheerful accident that I found this movie titled ‘The Terminal’ (2004) directed by Steven Spielberg on a streaming platform. My surprise was beyond measure when I saw the genre developed in the details of the movie-comedy! Well, it do not need to be my ignorance about this great filmmaker; because for most of Spielberg’s bios or filmography the said movie is not highlighted or discussed even though the movie was a commercial success. ‘The Terminal’ tells a wonderful story of an character called Viktor Navorski from Easter Europe (indicating the Russian Republic) who gets to New York John F Kennedy airport on the private mission only to discover that at the same time his native (fictional) country Kakrojhia had undergone a military coup plus a new government had absorbed. Since the US was yet to identify the newest government Viktor’s passport had become invalid and the airport supervisor took away all his documents including the passport refusing to allow for him enter New York city or to get back. Viktor Navorski, played by none other than the maximum of actors Tom Hanks, cannot speak much English and experiences a number of hilarious misfortunes during his nine-month lodge at the terminal. We’ll get back to the movie a bit later.

Steven Spielberg had become children name inside US after his blockbuster ‘Jaws’ in 1975; of course, if he was still being not children name in most other countries like India his ‘Close Encounters with the Third Kind’ in 1977, ‘Raiders from the Lost Ark’ almost 30 years ago, ‘ET the Extra Terrestrial’ in 1982, his creation with the franchise ‘Indiana Jones’ from 1984 and his awesome two huge productions ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Schindler’s List’ in 1993 make him more importantly, almost money legend of world cinema. Spielberg is claimed to get probably the most commercially successful director of Hollywood till date with almost every one of his films achieving box-office hit status, critical acclaim and Academy Awards nominations and awards. He has earned three Oscars a couple of which can be as Best Director for ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998) and something Best Picture Oscar for ‘Schindler’s List’, apart from 7 nominations as Best Director. His movies have earned an unbelievable 133 Academy nominations and 34 Oscars in several categories, in addition to the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. His other major awards include Cecil B DeMille Award and the AFI Life Achievement Award. Steven Spielberg at 74 years old now has not retired yet yet still making movies taking temporary breaks occasionally.

Watching the ‘Jaws’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ ended up a most exhilarating experience for many Indians at all like me and through such films we will view the painstaking efforts, often risking his own life inside the difficult shooting, taken with the director-no doubt whatsoever which he made his first movie experiment at the tender age of 12 thus dedicating his whole life to the art and making world cinema even more richer along with entertaining. After working for a few years inside New Hollywood era that included several Television Episodes and minor films for Universal Studios he got his game-changing burglary ‘Jaws’ in 1975 when he was just over the ages of 30. Spielberg, rightfully, refused to generate a sequel to ‘Jaws’ as those sequels produced by other filmmakers could never match the initial original that still sends shivers around the spine. He did make a sequel though for ‘Jurassic Park’ titled ‘The Lost World-Jurassic Park’ in 1997 since the writer with the original created his second book, knowning that movie seemed to be an advertisement and critical success.

It somewhat follows through the narrative above that a lot of folks always considered Spielberg as being a serious filmmaker who earned huge commercial success too for his universally appealing storytelling and dedicated efforts. We could never possibly imagine he could make a movie inside lighter genre of comedy. Perhaps, it was just an experiment with this great filmmaker, and the man did it beautifully too-getting inspired with a true event within the Paris airport, creating interesting characters including a romantic angle and erecting a tremendous filmset inside the lines from the JFK airport of New York.

Now, coming back to ‘The Terminal’, the 2-hour and 9 minutes movie does not have an individual dull moment tickling your funny bones constantly with Tom Hanks stumbling along with his brilliantly cultivated broken Russian or Bulgarian English while handling the obsessed airport supervisor, the security guards along with the various desk officials. His character gets emotionally involved too with the airhostess played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, an Indian cleaner, a woman desk official with whom a canteen boy was romantically attached and various other delightful characters and episodes. Hanks’s character Viktor helps as well a native of his region out of a tangle by his intelligent use of interpretation deceiving the aghast supervisor. The film also keeps the suspense on what exists in the tin box that Viktor frequently eliminates fondly how the supervisor who may have been bent upon doing away with him either for the police or the FBI really wants to know desperately. Such delicious elements had better be left for those who would also love to rediscover this comedy-drama movie manufactured by one of the legendary directors-producers-writers of world cinema.

Chinmay Chakravarty is really a professional specialized within the creative field with more than two decades of experience in journalistic writing, media co-ordination, film script writing, film dubbing, film & video making, control over international film festivals and editing of books & journals. Proficient in providing professional services in these related fields. Was a police officer of Indian Information Service and superannuated in the post of Director, Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November, 2019. Published his first solo book ‘Laugh and Let Laugh’ in 2017 and his awesome second book ‘The Cheerless Chauffeur and Other Tales’ in 2021.