No matter how many groundbreaking and deep films Steven Spielberg directs, it's always nice to see him take a break and do something
that is just a lot of fun. This was the case with his recent Catch Me If You Can, and it is even more the case with The Terminal.

Tom Hanks stars as Viktor Navorski, a native of the fictional country, Krakozhia. While on a flight to America, Krakozhia is taken over by a
rebellious group, and officially, no longer exists. Because he no longer belongs to a recognized country, Navorski cannot enter America,
nor return home. So he lives in the airport terminal.

In the hands of most directors this ridiculous premise would be a good excuse for the standard airport humor and other wacky antics.
However, the movie has a certain charm to it. Not the least of which is Hanks himself. He plays Navorski as a vulnerable, but determined
man that you can't help but love (after all Hanks is the nicest guy in Hollywood).

I also enjoyed the various characters he gets to know at the airport. There are some genuinely hilarious scenes.

Some people could complain that the movie is a bit too sugary, but I don't think having a smile throughout a film is a bad thing.

Also of note are the amazing airport sets and a fun score by John Williams.

However, The Terminal does fall short of being a great movie. I wasn't a huge fan of Stanley Tucci's character who feels a bit forced as the
villainous head of the airport. Also, the love story between Navorski and flight attendant Amelia Warren (Catherine Zeta Jones) doesn't
have a very satisfying conclusion. But the bottom line is that The Terminal is a very enjoyable movie. It isn't as good as Catch Me If You Can,
but that just means that it isn't great.

* * *
(Out of four)
THE TERMINAL
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Andrew Niccol and Sacha Gervasi

Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley
Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna, Barry Shabaka Henley

Cinematography by: Janusz Kaminski

Music by: John Williams

Released: June 18, 2004; 128 Minutes