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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 he 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 a 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 initially seemed.

Meanwhile, two assassins try to become the go-to assassins for a powerful, mysterious crime-lord 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. The two assassins quickly learn the same thing that Bill has discovered—that Annie is much more than an innocent waitress at a shady terminal diner. She quickly drives a wedge in the assassins’ relationship and she proves that she has a sinister agenda of her own.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Margot Robbie (+10pts)

Slow (-8pts)

Mike Myers (+3pts)

Max Irons (-5pts)

The Climax (+3pts)

The Writing (-8pts)

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Pro: Margot Robbie (+10pts)

There is no doubt about it, Margot Robbie was the best part of this movie. She was essentially playing a slightly dialed down version of Harley Quinn, and the movie was significantly more interesting whenever she was on-screen. The character was 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 was simply 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 here, because of the life and energy she brought to the movie—a movie that was otherwise almost void of life.

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Con: Slow (-8pts)

Unfortunately, I thought the pacing of this movie was poor. In seeing the trailer, I had assumed that it was showing viewers the setup that would take place in the first twenty minutes or so. 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 was a seemingly meaningless movie that felt like it was dragging on forever.

This was a bummer, because I was excited to see the movie for its cast, its premise, and its unique visual style. It seemed like the filmmakers knew these things would pull in viewers, and they did not care if the plot stuck the landing. The visual style became normal very quickly, and the cast was not given anything interesting to do. The filmmakers had a suspenseful climax, which I will get into later in the review, but the filmmakers failed to build toward their strong climax properly. In other words, the climax had twists and excitement, but most of the movie leading up to it felt slow and uneventful.

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Pro: Mike Myers (+3pts)

Mike Myers did not get a ton of screentime, but was incredibly captivating in this role. His portrayal of this character gave the movie some unique flavor, which this movie sorely needed. The character was unusual and I got 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 a fascinating enigma that ate up every moment that he was on screen.

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. This was 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 each 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 did not have much experience to fall back on, as far as I am aware. 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 here, but the cause for the issue does not really matter. The result was a bland, uninteresting character played by an non-charismatic actor who was given a lot of screen-time.

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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 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 and resolved most of the movie's issues? They could have spread some of the exciting and compelling things that happened in the climax throughout the rest of the story, and it would have made for a far more entertaining movie.

In the climax we learned Annie’s sinister motivations through a flashback sequence, and we learned the identity behind the mysterious Mr. Franklin. We also learned how Simon Pegg‘s character was related to everything else, and we got thrilling conclusions to each character’s story. I found myself pretty bored through most of this movie, but that completely turned around during the movie's climax. While the majority of the movie lacked excitement, the filmmakers delivered an exciting climax that concluded each storyline, while giving a plot reveal that no one will see coming—albeit along with 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 that the rest of the movie had.

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Con: The Writing (-8pts)

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 one. At its core, that was 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 focused on heavy dialogue, and interactions between its characters, but the filmmakers did not seem to care if any of those characters were interesting. As a result, the audience was given dialogue heavy scenes between characters they did not really care about. The movie had potential. There were some interesting things in here for sure, but the writers screwed up and delivered a mostly boring and uninteresting story.

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: C- (70pts)

Terminal had potential, but it ended up being pretty disappointing. For the most part, it had a pretty solid cast. Margot Robbie was fascinating enough to keep audiences watching, and Mike Myers played an enigmatic character that audiences will want to see more of. Unfortunately, Max Irons had so little charisma and so much screentime that audiences get tired of the plot, as it focused on him pretty heavily.

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