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The Hollywood Insider The Terminal List Review

Photo: ‘The Terminal List’

Quite a Serendipitous Occasion 

I mean, come on, a series with Chris Pratt starring as a Navy SEAL Team member debuting on the Fourth of July weekend? Seems a little too perfect if you ask me. Anyway, released Friday night on Amazon Prime, Pratt stars as Commander James Reece in the new series based on the best-selling book of the same name, which was written by an actual former Navy SEAL, Jack Carr. 

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That same real-world knowledge and experience are readily available on display in the television series as well. As Reece, Pratt is trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of how and why his fellow SEAL team members ended up dead on a mission that may or may not have had bad intel. Reece is suffering from a concussion and PTSD from the mission while attempting to piece the mystery together of what happened to his team. 

One of the strongest points of the storytelling in the series is the experience Reece suffers from with his PTSD. The disorienting and distracting nature of the illness is portrayed very impressively in the series. Mental health crises are famously very difficult to bring to life on screen with it being a visual medium and the audience not having access to the character’s inner thoughts. What ‘The Terminal List’ does so well is bringing this experience to life, and Pratt is game for the challenge. We anguish with his character as he shifts focus from moment to moment, unsure of his timeline of events, if we are experiencing a flashback, or if we are in the present moment. 

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Setting up Reece as his own unreliable narrator is a bold but very well executed story point. We get a really nice read on his character, seeing how much he cares for his family and his fellow SEAL team, while also understanding how much pain he is in mentally. He suffers greatly from not being able to recall certain details and timelines correctly, leaving the audience to wonder if he is just paranoid and exhausted, or if he really is in imminent danger. Spoiler alert, he is, but the show makes the audience question how accurate his interpretation of events is. 

‘The Terminal List’ – Back to a Familiar Format

Chris Pratt has certainly been on a wild ride in the past decade, both professionally and personally. For the purposes of this review, we don’t have to dive too deep into the weirder aspects of where he is personally but it feels significant that after being the biggest male movie star in the game for the past 8 years, he makes his return to the small screen. 

Pratt got his biggest break starring as the good-natured and lovable Andy Dwyer on the long-running sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation.’ Originally only meant to have a few appearances in the first season, Pratt ingratiated himself to the fanbase as a fun-loving everyman, capable of being anyone’s best friend. Putting that personality and talent on display helped turn him into the biggest star in the sorry for the pun, Galaxy. After successfully launching himself to stardom in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and the reboot of ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Jurassic World’, Pratt’s name has become synonymous with opening a major blockbuster film. 

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With so many talented actors taking a turn at tackling a project for a streamer these days, it is no surprise Pratt made his return to the medium. What’s surprising is seeing him on the small screen in such a different role than the last time we saw him. He’s taken a stab at action before with ‘Guardians’ and had a role as one of the members of Seal Team Six in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ The goofy beer-guzzling Andy Dwyer years of Pratt are gone, and the muscular action hero is here to stay it would appear. It’s a different Chris Pratt even from his turn as Star Lord in ‘Guardians’, who is focused on saving the world, but still does so with some of that original Pratt charm and levity he made a name for himself with. 

Our best artists, across all mediums, adapt to the times and the culture. Pratt has certainly done that throughout his career, taking different swings at all kinds of characters, but he seems to be more at home now in this role of action hero. Having played a big part in developing this series, Pratt seems very in touch and attached to the military and takes great care of how he represents them. ‘The Terminal List’ is a great example of his desire to get things right. 

And… Action!

While the show holds up as a nice character study of a service member dealing with PTSD and the grief of losing his platoon, the project would not be complete without some solid action pieces. We are thrown into the mix right away on the mission with Pratt and his team that will ultimately lead to their demise in a hyper-intense action sequence taking part in an underground cave system. With incredible attention to detail paid to every aspect of the platoon’s look and execution of the mission, the audience has no choice but to feel a part of the scene. We are thrown right into the mix with the platoon as they traverse the dark and twisting cave system.

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The strength of the action sequences should come as no surprise when considering the legendary Antoine Fuqua is the Director of the first episode of the series. Bringing his signature style and combining forces with Pratt leaves for some truly impressive fight scenes and choreography. Most notably a scene in which Pratt needs to take down two would-be assailants in his underwear shines as an impressive feat of this new version of Pratt as an actor, and Fuqua’s work behind the camera. 

The series is also very notable for Amazon as a streaming service, as they seem to be leaning into their own niche of content. ‘The Terminal List’ is another in their line of successful action book characters brought to life, following their hits with ‘Without Remorse’, ‘Jack Ryan’ and ‘Reacher.’ As the content arms race continues to heat up, Amazon will find themselves in an interesting situation sitting on these viable and in-demand stories. All episodes of ‘The Terminal List’ starring Chris Pratt are streaming now on Amazon. 

Cast: Chris Pratt, Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch | Directed By: Antoine Fuqua, Frederick E.O. Toye, Sylvain White, M.J. Bassett, Tucker Gates, Ellen Kuras | Based on ‘The Terminal List’ by Jack Carr

By Mark Raymond

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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