The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
On the dawn of John F. Kennedy International Airport, the customs' lines are overfilled with people traveling around the world - either staying in New York for pleasure or for business. A tyrannical director of customs, Frank Dixon has a keen eye on those whose carrying forged IDs - stopping a group
of Chinese tourists wearing identical clothes and stopping them.
Enter Viktor Navorski, a Krakozhian immigrant whose passports and other government papers issued from Krakozhia invalid due to a civil war breaking out of that country, becoming a independent and non-recognized nation worldwide, especially with the United States. With his passport invalid, security walked Viktor to Frank's office to explain to him about the current ongoing with Krakozhia but due to Viktor's inability and difficulty of the English language, Viktor was asked to stay in the international lounge where Frank had issued a $15 dollar pre-paid card, a couple of food vouchers, some coupons, a CBP ID badge and a pager to him, knowing that it's not enough for him and wants him to run out of the airport and into US custody.
Viktor adapting in the Terminal
Living in the Terminal at first is not fair for Viktor Navorski as his Krakozhian money is invalid and is starving. He manages to adjust in the terminal - not only learning more English but returning carts for money - until he stumbles upon a United Airlines attendant, Amelia Warren who's life is complicated due to his husband cheating on him, also having conflicting issues with Viktor. Also he befriends the maintenance crew at JFK Airport; Gupta Rajan, Enrique Cruz and Mulroy. Though Gupta was first skeptical about Viktor, assuming that he is a CIA trying to spy on them and met with a beautiful KGB agent, Amelia Warren.
Finds his home at Gate 67
Viktor's main purpose for traveling to New York City is to fulfill his father's promise, going to the Ramada Inn at 161 Lexington Street in Manhattan and have Benny Golson to sign his autograph. Completing his father's last wish to have all 57 jazz musicians on the cover of a Krakozhian newspaper and returning back to Krakozhia due to the war being over and Amelia breaking up with him.
Production of The Terminal
Steven Spielberg had traveled around the world to find an actual airport that would let him film for the length of its production but didn’t manage to find one. Though he found a massive hanger at LA/Palmdale Regional Airport where the terminal set was built. This hanger was a part of the US Air Force
Plant 42 complex which used to build the Rockwell International B-1B bomber. This set was built to full recreation and was based on the Dusseldorf International Airport. The shape of both, the actual terminal and the set viewed as sideways is a cross section of an aircraft wing.
Reconstructing everything in precise detail; shops, restaurants and such functioned in the set as in real life. There were real food, ice cream and coffee in the appropriate food outlets, suits and formal wear and such. The escalators however were purchased from a department store which had gone bankrupted. Each of the outlets featured in the concourse building is actually sponsored by its perspective companies. Many stores are seen in the movie where Viktor Navorski seeks a job at Brookstone, the Discovery Store, Yoshinoya, and La Perla.
The majority of the exterior shots and those featuring actual aircraft were at Montreal-Mirabel International Airport; additional interior shots were done there including the mezzanine overlooking the immigration line and the baggage carousels directly behind them, the jet-ways revealing the Aeroports de Montreal signs and many Air Transit planes in the background – New York is not one of their regular destinations.
Additional pre-production shooting was done at Los Angeles International Airport and at the Spielberg’s offices at Amblin Entertainment. Montreal was also mentioned on the loudspeaker during the beginning of the movie, the scene where the customs’ officers tells Viktor Navorski to wait in a special line for the security to get him and validate his passport.
United 747 were provided by United Airlines with conjunction with Star Alliance. They were a major sponsor and had provided uniforms, equipment and actors to add authenticity to the original cast. In spite of the heavy presence of the Star Alliance airlines – there was a shot of a Delta Airlines pilot who passes Viktor in a scene where he finally gets out of the airport during the last five minutes of the movie.