The Terminal DVD Review

Most people have a hard time waiting 10-minutes for a flight. A & E's entertaining TV show "Airline" proves that. Then you have people who just take whatever is put in front of them and just deal with it. That's the basis for "The Terminal," a great little character study about one man facing one of the most awkward situations of his life.

Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives in the JFK Airport with the goal of visiting New York City. Upon arrival, he learns his country of Krakozhia has been disbanded and he's now a refugee trapped in the US. Actually, he's trapped inside the airport. Not allowed to step outside onto American soil, he makes himself at home and begins to wait for the time when he is allowed to finish his trip.

Tom Hanks creates what is easily his best character in "The Terminal," a kind, gentle, and actually lovable guy who just wants to make it inside the city. He just does not understand why he can't, but never really seems to mind all the turmoil. You can almost imagine him being perfectly content staying right where he is and just making the most out of it.

Other characters don't work so well. Stanley Tucci plays the head of security, Frank Dixon, and seems to constantly be changing his mind as to what to do with this new resident. One minute he seems ready to let Viktor leave through a loophole, the next he does everything by the book. His performance is fine; it's just a very confusing part for the audience. The same can be said for Navorski's love interest, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. She doesn't seem to have a brain cell left in her head.

The script is otherwise strongly written (based of a true story), especially the way Navorski figures out ways to survive. Constantly challenged, his creative methods equal great entertainment. Though he is completely lost and his homeland is in total turmoil, he just goes about his business, doing what he needs to do.

Yes, the movie does become sappy and maybe even a little cheesy towards the end, but you'll come out with a smile regardless. Most of the confusing aspects can easily be ignored once you've become sucked into the story and you probably won't even have time to dissect this one too deep. If you can take it for what it is, this will provide two great hours of entertainment. (**** out of *****)

Available in three separate editions, "The Terminal" should please just about anyone on DVD. Reviewed here is the single disc 1.85:1 widescreen edition. Others include single disc pan & scan along with a snazzy 3-disc special edition with loads of special features.

This is a very soft transfer with strong color in every scene. Black levels are just outstanding and any compression problems are well controlled. There is some minor occasional bleeding with some of the reds, but it's a minor issue and generally occurs away from the center of the scene. Light grain can be found if you're looking, but that's about the only major problem (and it's not even that major) on a nearly flawless transfer. (*****)

Though a 5.1 DTS mix is included here, it's wasted even more so than the standard 5.1 track. There are so many opportunities to immerse the viewer in JFK's hustle and bustle, but there is hardly anything going on in the rear speakers at any given time. A few brief moments work the surrounds, but that's generally reserved for planes coming in/out of the airport. Almost everything is centered here and there is absolutely no reason to take up space on the disc with so many audio formats if this is how they'll be used. Beyond the clear dialogue, this one is a massive disappointment. (***)

The solo disc editions have nothing in the extras department. Nope, not even a trailer. You'll need to spend the extra cash for the 3-disc set if you want to learn how they turned a hanger into a full-fledged airport. (No stars)

This will not be a movie for everyone. Even a major fan could tell why someone would feel completely disconnected to this film. Either you buy Tom Hanks or you don't. If it doesn't hook you within the first 15-minutes, don't waste your time. The rest of us will continue to have a great time.

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