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Movie Review: “Terminal”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Terminal

Theatrical Release: 5/11/2018

Theatrical Release: 5/11/2018

Synopsis

Bill (Simon Pegg) is an English teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer. He has nowhere to go and no one to turn to, but finds himself in a sketchy train station in the middle of the night. The only thing open is a twenty-four hour diner, which is empty except for the peculiar waitress named Annie (Margot Robbie). The two get to talking about life and death, but Bill quickly learns that Annie may not be as innocent as she seems.

Meanwhile, two assassins try to become the go-to assassins for a powerful, mysterious crimelord named Mr. Franklin. No one knows what he looks like, but he is known to pay big money for his jobs. He only hires assassins he trusts, so the two assassins must go to great lengths to prove themselves worthy. What the two assassins quickly discover is that Annie is much more than an innocent waitress at a shady terminal diner. She quickly drives a wedge in the assassins’ relationship and proves that she has a sinister agenda of her own.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

Margot Robbie (+10pts)

Slow (-10pts)

Mike Myers (+3pts)

Max Irons (-5pts)

The Climax (+3pts)

The Writing (-10pts)

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Pro: Margot Robbie (+10pts)

There is no doubt about it, Margot Robbie is the best part of this movie. She is essentially playing a slightly dialed down version of Harley Quinn, but the movie was significantly more interesting whenever she was on-screen. The character is mysterious, sinister, and charismatic. This made for a great combination that will keep audiences watching despite the rest of the movie’s issues.

Margot Robbie is absolutely captivating in this movie. She made this character feel cunning, unpredictable, and diabolical. At times, this was a pretty boring movie but, when this character was on-screen, the movie had my attention. Margot Robbie is a talented actress that is capable of masterfully portraying a wide range of characters and, while this character was not too dissimilar from Harley Quinn, I was fascinated by her one because of the life and energy she brought to the movie (a movie that was almost void of life otherwise).

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Con: Slow (-10pts)

Unfortunately, the pacing of this movie is pretty poor. In seeing the trailer, I had assumed that it was showing viewers the setup that would take place in the first twenty (or so) minutes. Instead, this was all dragged out for over an hour. For a large portion of this movie, it felt like nothing was happening. The result is a seemingly meaningless movie that seems to drag on forever.

This was a bummer, because I was excited to see the movie for its cast and unique visual style. It seemed like the filmmakers knew they had these things and would get viewers, so they phoned it in for the plot. The visual style becomes “normal“ very quickly and the cast is not given anything interesting to do. The filmmakers had a suspenseful climax (which I will get into later in the review), but they got caught up in the story’s intro and failed to build to their strong climax. To put this very simply, the film is usually boring because nothing noteworthy happens until the very end. It is just an hour and fifteen minutes of slow setup and boring dialogue.

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Pro: Mike Myers (+3pts)

Mike Myers did not get a ton of screentime, but was always fun to watch. His portrayal of this character gave some unique flavor, which this movie sorely needed. He was unusual and gave off the impression that he was not as oblivious as he let on. The character’s unusual nature, the mystery that surrounded him, and Mike Myer’s over-the-top portrayal all contributed to making this character an enigma that was very interesting to watch.

I did have a couple of complaints about the character, but they were pretty minor. The character was captivating due to Mike Myers’ portrayal, but he simply did not get much screentime. This, and the fact that I predicted where the filmmakers were going with this character, made me feel like the filmmakers missed an opportunity here. He was not utilized well, but when he was on-screen, I was interested.

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Con: Max Irons (-5pts)

The filmmakers had Mike Myers playing an enigmatic character, but they sacrificed that character’s screentime in favor of Alfred, played by Max Irons. Mike Myers was likable in his role while Max Irons had the charisma of a dusty, old brick (not even remotely interesting). This is made worse by the character’s poor development. Strangely enough, I do not blame the actor entirely as I feel that most of the problem came from bad direction.

The actors who worked best in this movie were the ones with the most experience. Mike Myers, Simon Pegg, and Margot Robbie were able to fall back on their experience as talented actors (with Margot Robbie even playing a dialed down version of one of her more recent roles), but Max Irons does not have much experience to fall back on. I do not know what this guy has done before this movie but I do not remember him from anything. The fact that the seemingly least experienced actor gave a dull and boring performance tells me that the director failed to provide the actor with proper direction. That is just my theory as to what happened, but the cause the issue does not really matter. The result was a bland, uninteresting character played by an uncharismatic actor who was given a lot of screentime.

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Pro: The Climax (+3pts)

The majority of the movie was slow and uneventful, but the story’s climax was packed with plot points, reveals, gore, and simply entertaining storytelling. I was honestly surprised with how much I liked the climax of the movie but I could not help but think that the filmmakers told this story wrong. Why stretch out the setup of each character and drag out every scene with unnecessary dialogue when they could have rearranged the story? They could have rearranged the story so that all the great stuff in the climax would be spread out throughout the rest of the story. This would have made this movie severely more entertaining.

In the climax we learn Annie’s sinister motivations through a flashback sequence and we learn the identity behind the mysterious Mr. Franklin. We also learn how Simon Pegg‘s character is related to all this and we get thrilling conclusions to each character’s story. I found myself pretty bored through most of this movie but that completely turned around at the movie’s conclusion. While the majority of the movie lacked excitement, the filmmakers delivered an exciting climax that concludes each storyline while giving a plot reveal that no one will see coming (and another plot reveal that everyone will see coming). It was not perfect but it was a huge step up from the pacing and lack of excitement in the rest of the movie.

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Con: The Writing (-10pts)

I just could not help but think of the missed opportunity of how much greater this movie could have been if the filmmakers had not dropped the ball on everything that came before the climax. I would mention how poorly the characters were developed, but they got almost no development at all. A few characters got some development during the climax, but it was definitely not enough for a character focused story like this. At its core, that’s what this movie was, a character story with poorly developed characters.

The story was not about the action or the drama, because there really was not any of either. This movie focuses on heavy dialogue and interactions between its characters, but the filmmakers did not seem to care if any of them were interesting. As a result, the audience is given dialogue heavy scenes between characters they do not really care about. The movie had potential. There are some interesting things in this story, but the writers screwed up and delivered a mostly boring and uninteresting script.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: D+ (66pts)

Terminal had potential but it ended up being pretty disappointing. For the most part, it had a pretty solid cast. Margot Robbie is fascinating enough to keep audiences watching, and Mike Myers plays an enigmatic character that audiences will want to see more of. Unfortunately, Max Irons has so little charisma and so much screentime that audiences will bore of the plot (which heavily involves him) pretty quickly.

This ends up being a character focused story but the filmmakers failed to give any of these characters the necessary character development that they needed. The result is a dialogue heavy story about uninteresting characters that will leave audiences bored and looking at their phones. Once the story’s climax finally arrives, it comes with a bang. The end of the story will engage and excite the audience but this is unfortunately not enough to make up for the movie’s issues. Terminal had potential but was executed poorly. Margot Robbie was the best part of this movie. She did the best she could and made it almost watchable, but I would seriously consider finding something else to watch if you were thinking of giving this movie a shot.