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The Official Discussion Thread for "The Terminal


Trumpeteer
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Went to see a press screening of "The Terminal" on June 10 (one day before the public's sneak peek). I went in with absolutely no expectations. The trailer gave no indication of what type of film this was.

This is guaranteed to be one of the funniest films of the year. Definitely the funniest Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have ever done.

I won't go too deeply into how much I love the story (I'm in the middle of writing a review, and will post it here next week). Here's a quick talk about the score.

John Williams created a fantastic theme for Viktor. Using a solo clarinet, his theme (like the film) is light as air and a joy to behold. It has a great bass line underneath and is instantly hummable.

There's a second theme that's more of the general theme for the film. It's played on various instruments, primarily accordion. Equally bouncy.

There's only about 30 minutes of score in this film. I didn't time it, but there were lengthy stretches without music (which was not a problem at all). This was one film that didn't need to have a lot of music. If many of the comic scenes had music, it would have probably sounded very much like "Home Alone." I'm glad the music keeps the film's humor genuine. The only problem I had was with the theater; they didn't turn on the surround speakers, so the music was only coming out of the front.

Tom Hanks is at his best. Catherine Zeta-Jones is beautiful (aided by soft lighting). Watch out for the guy who plays the janitor. He has the most memorable part.

The credits music is simply a reprise of the two themes. Nothing more, nothing less. Oh, and you'll love the way the credits are done. I bet many of you will do screen captures when this is out on DVD (or you'll ask Morn to do it for you next week ;) )

Jeff -- who was happy to hear other critics praise the music and mention JW by name before his name appeared in the credits

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Definitely the funniest Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have ever done.

Funnier than Saving Private Ryan? This I've got to see!

Neil

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Definitely the funniest Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have ever done.

Funnier than Saving Private Ryan? This I've got to see!

Neil

Well, Catch Me If You Can had its humorous moments.

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Definitely the funniest Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have ever done.

Funnier than Saving Private Ryan? This I've got to see!

Neil

;)

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Funny, Neil.

Actually, when I wrote that sentence, I was thinking about their individual bodies of work. But you can include "Catch Me If You Can."

Also one other observation: There was one moment in the score that seemed lifted right out of "The Float" from "CMIYK." When you hear it in the movie (it's "Looking for Jobs" on the CD), I'm certain all of you will hear it.

Jeff -- who wishes he could go to tonight's sneak

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OK, OK. Maybe it's more than 30 minutes. It just felt like one-fourth of the movie had music. And let me remind you: I might have missed the quieter moments of the score because the surround speakers weren't on.

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Well,you can't expect something like the Star Wars theme to pop up when Hanks and Zeta Jones are having a romantic dinner.

There might be dramatic/suspense moments we haven't heard

K.M.,Who kind of expected what he hears in the MP3's

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Well,you can't expect something like the Star Wars theme to pop up when Hanks and Zeta Jones are having a romantic dinner.

There might be dramatic/suspense  moments we haven't heard

K.M.,Who kind of expected what he hears in the MP3's

Well, what about Han Solo and the Princess?

Or even cooler, Blockade Runner! Yeah! Imagine the possibilities.

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Hey guys, I don't have the time for a lengthy review, but since I just got back from seeing the film, I thought I'd share a few immediate thoughts.

It's good but not one of Spielberg's best. Despite the modest premise of the film, I came in with high hopes simply because I'd loved the last three films Spielberg made before this one. The Terminal has a lot to recommend it -- the airport is a marvel to behold, with myriad details crammed into every frame. Williams's alternately perky and sentimental score is boasts a melody or two you can come out of the theater whistling (e.g., the clarinet theme) and manages not to retread too much on his previous light comedy scores. Tom Hanks has just wonderful presence, as always, and he creates a very likable character. Catherine Zeta-Jones, on the other hand, seems woefully awkward in her role -- her character is supposed to have a sort of deep insecurity about her, but it seems you could describe her performance in a similar way, too. It's actorly and artificial, as though the expression of actual vulnerability and neediness is foreign to her after so many films of soul-killing superciliousness.

Hanks' character finds himself in a variety of amusing situations amid some memorable cartoonish characters that'll have you smiling (Spielberg succeeds in this respect), but ultimately the whole thing seems awfully lightweight. The final act feels canned and didn't touch me the way it was apparently supposed to. I went way feeling generally entertained but deeply unsatisfied.

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I just got back from seeing this film tonight. I have to say I agree with Trumpeteer for the most part. Seeing the trailer made me think it would be more like a romantic comedy, and I suppose there's an element of that, but it's not really the focus of the story at all and doesn't end up like one. In fact it seemed like Zeta-Jones didn't even show up until the second hour (probably less, but it felt like a long time). That's not a complaint though, after seeing the direction the story went I was glad it wasn't a "i love you and have to be with you but i'm stuck in an airport" story. It also took me a couple minutes to get used to Hanks' accent because...well, he's tom hanks and doesn't have an acccent, but you soon forget about that as Hanks creates a great character. The music is pretty much what I excpected it to be. It's nice, light, and not overbearing or cheesy in the comedic portions. I doubt it will be replacing Harry Potter in the cd player as far as heavy listening, but it's certainly something i'll be picking up and listen too when i'm in the right mood.

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Jeff -- who was happy to hear other critics praise the music and mention JW by name before his name appeared in the credits

Which critics have praised it?

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There have been no published reviews of "The Terminal" yet by "established" film critics. I was talking about the moments during the credits when the other critics present at the screening were too busy praising Williams while the music was playing (grrrr!).

Jeff

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How long exactly did JW have to score this? The movie comes out so soon after HP3 that I have to imagine he was under a very constrained schedule for this soundtrack,

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Yeah,apperently he was holding up the post-production.But in this case I'm glad he chose to put all his efforts in Harry Potter and not Spielberg's new film,because last time he did the opppsite,and the result is that his HP trilogy is flawed because he had to rush Chambers of Secrets underscore,and even scored it with parts of AotC.

One thing that bugs me about Spielberg is that he doesn't do a movie for years,than does one right in the time where Williams is occupied with one of his important projects(HP,Star Wars). I sure hope Spielberg has nothing planned for release next spring,so Williams can put all his efforts in Episode 3 unhindered by schedual conflicts.I'm actually glad Indy 4 got cancelled for that time because it would have resulted in Williams producing 2 lesser scores instead of a possibly great one

K.M.

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I don't think that's the way Spielberg works, Mark. It's just the way studios schedule things. Remember, the first two Harry Potter films were released in the fall. If No. 3 had followed the same schedule, there would have been no conflicts.

And I think Spielberg and Williams know each other so well that any "delays" in scoring are minimal.

Jeff -- who doesn't think "The Terminal" looks or sounds like it was rushed to be finished

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Just got the soundtrack a half hour ago, haven't finished listening to it yet but I love The Tale of Viktor Navorski already. It's a perfect theme for Hank's character, lighthearted and cheerful but with a good undertone to it. Aided by the fact that the theme comes out 2 more times in the first track, with the third time being a marvelous rendition of it by the whole orchestra. Dinner with Amelia is also intriguing, the accordian being the main focus early on in the track is perfect for a nice quiet dinner scene along with the love theme coming in nicely.

Can't wait to finish listening to it, I already like it more than POA

So far, I give it a :)

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I got it and I like this score a lot.It's like JW's lighter score,in the vein of Heartbeeps,Stanley and Iris,Sabrina,and CMIYC,except this one has enough rousing moments to elevate it above all of the light JW scores.Unlike those scores it's not really "low key"and has a much fuller orchestral sound than any of those(Heartbeeps is pretty dense,but the synths....uggh!),making much much more enjoyable and fun.It's peppered with short bursts of classic JW moments(example:the take on the Wedding March at the end of track 6)

Anyways I'll continue my analysis/review track by track I started in the other thread.

K.M.

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Why is The Great Shark Chase quoted in Looking for Work,is there a Jaws referance in the film?

K.M.Underwhelmed by the discussion about this score

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I got it and I like this score a lot. It's like JW's lighter score, in the vein of Heartbeeps, Stanley and Iris, Sabrina and CMIYC.

That's four totally different scores. John's "lighter" side is still a pretty broad category. I don't have the CD, but based on the audio clips, there's nothing in this score that is remotely reminiscent of Stanley and Iris. On the other hand, the link between Heartbeeps is quite obvious.

----------------

Alex Cremers

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Based on the c.d I can broaded my resemblences.This score is quite different in styles from track to track.In Making of a Legend it sounds like The Patriot (or The Ancestoral Home in The River),then he transformrd the traditionnal Wedding March in something closer to The Olympic Fanfare.

K.M.

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Mark, there is no "Jaws" reference in the film. Not that I remember. Though there is a gag with a swordfish.

Jeff -- unable to get the CD due to financial constraints

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Here is my review of "The Terminal."

Since we're not a film score publication, I didn't get much space to mention John Williams. But I wasn't going to write this without some mention.

Jeff -- watching the film again this weekend

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Great review Jeff!

I really wish I had the disc so I could start discussing the score but I haven't received it yet and I even pre-ordered. I did receive a shipping notice today from Barnes & Noble. Are they shipping me the disc I really want? ... nooo ... The Terminal is delayed. ;)

Kathy

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The best way to approach The Terminal in order to mute the disappointment that I felt after seeing it is to go in expecting a cute fairy tale filled with lovable cartoonish characters you'd never meet in real life. Some may point to debatable artistic limitations on Spielberg's part, but one might also take into consideration that Spielberg didn't aim particularly high with this film. He reportedly wanted to make it to make audiences "smile," and he does just that, not including the Village Voice critics in the audience. Just take note that the sweet satisfaction you may feel is transitory because of the innate thinness of a narrative that forsakes the full dramatic implications of its premise in favor of easy comic vignettes. It's like listening to a pastor's sermon and finding that he's put so much priority into preparing his jokey anecdotes and portraying himself as an affable, down-to-earth everyman that he's failed to put a whole lot of insight or substance into his actual message. You're first charmed, then dismayed because a sermon should be so much more than that.

That's in some measure how I felt after watching The Terminal -- I considered the potential of its premise, the preeminence of the filmmaker, and I couldn't help feeling it could've been so much more.

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The movie opens on June 25th here,not tomorrow.This is very unusual,they must have had last minute distribution problems..

KM.

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Jeff -- unable to get the CD due to financial constraints

My posts must have already become all too predictable, so you know what I'm gonna say all the time. :( I mean, Jeff, frankly, at least you can get the CD. I know means may mean a problem, but face it. I won't be able to get this CD in foreseeable future, because it's not planned to sell here at all. And I don't care for CD-Rs as far as new, gettable stuff is concerned.

But, as other suggested, if I'll listen to Sabrina, CMIYC, Stanley & Iris and "Schindler's Workforce" over one afternoon, I might get the feeling as if listening to The Terminal.

;) ;)

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I thought the film was great! Truly funny. Hanks was great as always, as was the support cast. And the score was great in the film as well (and as far as I could tell, there's little to no unreleased music!).

Best film I've seen all year! ROTFLMAO

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Actually, I noticed plenty of unreleased music like a really nice piano version of Homesickness and a fairly extensive early scene where he's going from TV to TV trying to find out what happened to his country. At least a few others small spots, I think. From an annoying point of view, the end of track 12 was tracked in a second time in the film. I really like that portion and it worked great for the scene he wrote it for but it didn't quite fit the second time around.

I was a little disappointed in the film. Although it was generally amusing and a few parts were quite funny, it tried to be more than that and I thought it was a little bit of a mess dramatically. It didn't add up to a whole lot for me.

As usual, I have trouble finding fault with the score. I thought it really added to the comedy during the dinner scene, in particular. The love theme took a curious turn (in my mind) but I guess I won't give away the ending for anybody. Don't know if this is at all related to the reported re-shooting of the ending.

- Adam

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I saw The Terminal tonight. I was pretty pleased with it. I don't think there was a single thing I was disappointed with. Of course, I'd gone in knowing that there was more than meets-the-eye at work in the movie. Like the main plot was actually subdued.

Spielberg did a great job pulling everything together. I was hooked when Viktor would see the blurbs for Krakhozia on the TVs, trying to see more and more about it, but then something else would cut in. From there, I enjoyed it and thought it was pretty tasteful.

It's a movie you're either going to like or hate like A.I., but you can't argue that it wasn't well-made. It's still a good movie, whether you like it or not.

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I'll be seeing it tonight.

The new commercials on TV STILL have no Williams music but a stupid song.

I bet this is part of the reason the movie is flopping,people think it doesn't feel like a Spielberg movie,even if they don't think immediately about the music.

Spielberg also ruined A.I. with misleading and confusing ads.

K.M.

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Mark, it doesn't feel like a Spielberg film. Besides the father theme that shows up in all his films, there's nothing to show that this is his film. Maybe it's because it's a comedy.

Hope you enjoy.

Jeff -- who finds it odd that more people aren't seeing this film

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I Thought this movie was meh,it didn't totally suck but it was sort of gay,like Down with Love or something.

On the plus side Williams score the loudest I've heard in years,that's how it should be done for Harry Potter.The cues were mostly used whole and not chopped up,probable because Williams scored the movie late.

Also,I believe A Legend is Born was tracked into 2 scenes,and the Victor theme used the same recording in several scenes.Also,I think the album cue "Looking for Work" is unused in the film,and replaced with a tracked version of Victor's theme.

K.M.

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I saw the film and loved it, i haven't laughed like that in a long time. But it wasn't superior to CMIYC, but it's still a damn good film on it's own.

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