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Great film - but watch the TV series first!
Just watched this film last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, you should know that this movie is the fourth installment of an Icelandic TV series. The three preceding comedy series were called The Night Shift (Næturvaktin), The Day Shift (Dagvaktin), and The Prison Shift (Fangavaktin). Although I think this film could probably stand on its own, it would be far more rewarding if you watch it as the final chapter about these three amazing characters (Georg, Ólafur, & Daníel) which had been so vividly brought to life in the TV show. The film is generally less comedic than the TV shows were, but the character development is highly rewarding.
The Terminal (2004)
Nothing to do with Merhan Karimi Nasseri
The tragic story of Iranian Merhan Karimi Nasseri is that he has been living in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris since 1988; due to a complex bureaucratic mess regarding his stolen refugee papers. I was always interested in this story. I knew in advance that this film was loosely based on it, but I also knew that they changed many details to make it more palatable for an American audience (Iranian??? no! France??? no!). Instead, make the main character a simple-minded pseudo-Russian, put it in New York (NEW YORK!! America!!), and instead of a story about a refugee, make it a story about collecting an autograph from a jazz musician.
The whole thing is frivolous and clichéd. Tom Hanks' accent is straight out of a bad sitcom from the 80's. So is the "ooh ahh, I love America, land of freedom, so much better than Russia" shtick. Old, tired, rubbish... not to mention the 'romance' between the border official and cargo man. It's called stalking! This movie is just a dumb fairy tale. Probably the best audience are people who've never heard of Merhan Karimi Nasseri, and just want some junk food for the mind. This is it.
In the DVD extras, I was hoping perhaps to see some reference to Mr. Nasseri.... but there isn't a single one. The authors didn't even acknowledge the inspiration. All they did was narcissistically discuss themselves. Boring boring. They built a whole terminal from scratch for this movie? What a waste.