Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Terminal: Movie is good But DVD Part II & Website is amazing. !!


Generally not many movie producers - directors are keen to make a movie from an event that is widely known and publicized. This is understandably so. The characters that emerge from incident based script are known; plot of the movie being familiar is difficult to sustain viewer’s interest and climax if any can be fairly predictable. However, some duo thinks it otherwise. For some directors, a known incident is an excellent opportunity to create an imaginative approach in transforming the very event into a form that will bring his dramatized characters. In doing so, they have a firm belief that their new creation would make a new benchmark by which a real characters associated with the real incident be remembered. It seems they thrive on such challenges. One must also admire the producers who back up such directors with their risk taking ability.

There are number of movies that have been wonderfully crafted from a real life incident. I can remember, Bandit Queen by Shekhar Kapoor, Kala Patthar by Yash Chopra. This week, I saw one such effort by Steven Spielberg in movie ‘The Terminal’.

When the movie was launched in 2004, I was not keen to watch in theater. I felt it was not so wise to spend money (movie theater in UAE cost fortune) on a movie whose storyline and plot was known. Moreover, I was not ready to erase the image of pathetic, forlorn looking, worn out; bearded jeans clad Iranian that I had seen at Charles De Gaul airport in Paris. Last week, when I looked at the DVD of ‘The Terminal’, I changed my mind. I am glad that I did so.

The performances, direction, and cinematic approach of The Terminal have already been dissected in detail in various reviews. Hence, I would refrain from going into the details of this movie and performance. ‘The Terminal’ is worth watching but whats more essential is to watch DVD part II. This part II covers all the behind the scene activities along with interviews with Director, Producer, Production controller and Performing artistes of the movie. This interaction lets one realize the gigantic scale of operations that was conceived and executed. The set of the airport terminal look real - in fact very real – every minute aspect of the airport is taken into consideration - from Check in counter, Baggage claim area, Duty free shops, Cafés, Book shops, Telephone Booths, Security operations, Toilets. However, what is unbelievable is the whole terminal is built, fabricated and manufactured just for this movie. From computer design to layout, construction to interior is done in an abandoned airport hanger that used to house six Boeing aircrafts. All this is done in space of few months. Steel structural specialists, architects, interior designers, civil engineers, carpenters, welders made a fabulous terminal with transparent roof, granite tiles, lights even real escalators. I wonder what they did to this Terminal once the movie was completed. I am sure any third world country would have been happy to buy this which had retail outlets of Baskin Robbins, Hugo Boss and Starbucks Café.

It is always enjoyable to see DVD Part II after you have watched movie. This gives an in idea of the intricacies involved in the movie preparation. Part II of ‘The Terminal’ provides amazing directorial insights to the thought process that guided this movie. It is interesting to realize and appreciate so many finer elements of so many activities that later become the hallmark of a movie creation. Steven Spielberg articulates his theme in as lucid manner as he directs this movie. How did he put this concept of “stranded passenger at the airport” from “enclosed space” to “microcosm of vibrant international community”? How did he transform “The Terminal” on a canvas to manifest the montage of diverse people and their emotions? How did he manage the movement of 600 extras in every scene while creating an ambience of busy terminal? If DVD is innovative, Official Website is no less. http://www.theterminal-themovie.com/ is amazingly unique and innovative. Not just in terms of contents but an imaginative way it opens the site. The best would be click and see it yourself.

While watching ‘The Terminal’, my thoughts went back to those crazy long hours spent at Delhi, Dubai, Bangkok, Frankfurt airports. At Los Angeles airport, I even spent a whole night. This may sound weird but at the end of the ordeal, I felt a sense of belonging to the very airport that I considered a torture in the beginning.

How wonderfully, director Steven Spielberg has captured that precise mindset of a stranded passenger.






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