A thought provoking adventure that bought many dramatic elements to the wildly creative script and added some eye-popping visuals while it was at it.
The holidays often bring feel-good films to the theaters. These tales of inspiration often vary greatly in the entertainment level, but those done well, clearly rise above the pact. Ben Stiller makes his most recent directorial efforts in the remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and stars in the lead role as well. Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Adrian Martinez and Sean Penn fill out the cast.
Walter Mitty (Stiller) lives a boring ordinary life working at ‘LIFE Magazine’. With having done nothing really adventurous in his life he seeks refuge in his mental fantasies through acts of heroism, love, adventure and adrenaline. As the deadline for the last print version of the magazine draws near, and all are faced with the aspect of unemployment, Walter will face a real life journey that covers the world as he seeks out the photographer (Penn) who took what should be the image that will grace the cover of the final issue.
I wasn’t sure how good this one would be. When I saw the trailer for the first time I knew it would hold a certain level of quality. Ben Stiller doesn’t often come out with a low-level dud so I was comfortable in assuming this one would be mildly entertaining at the least. Much to my surprise the film was quiet good and highly intriguing and much more thought provoking than I had assumed. Given it was a Christmas release I knew it would hold some dramatic pretense but what I was not anticipating was the level of adventure and intelligent humor this film brought to a usually singular genre of script.
While Stiller did deliver a solid performance as the lead character of Walter Mitty, it was his eye behind the camera, almost like his character in the film, that was the true bright spot of this one. He took what could easily have been a straight forward dramatic script and turned it into a true feel-good adventure that raises your optimism as it takes you to remote places in the world. The settings are excellent and capture beautiful panoramic landscapes as Mitty discovers his true spirit on a journey to find an elusive photographer played excellently by Sean Penn.
This film could be considered a classic example of how current day special-effects can make a massive impact on a film, while being added in subtle fashion. Most of us are accustomed to computer imagery being used in action flicks but this movie shows how the technology of today can add allure to any genre there is when done properly. The imagination of Mitty is captured perfectly, and woven seamlessly into the framework of the story-line. The script also does a great job of keeping the pace moving and the intrigue high throughout by only lingering mildly in the love-angle subplot.
What rises above in this project is the creativity in the story telling and how the locations are captured on camera. The film was fresh retelling of the 1947 original, felt intriguing and despite the crazy settings, it was easy to relate to. People of all types of cultures, wealth and age can relate to the occasional daydream no mater how minimal they may be. This is what pulls you into the journey Mitty takes, and whats holds your interest because you genuinely want him to succeed.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a great film that shows extreme creativity, is well written and delivers great performances. While the theme is prevalent this is far from your traditional drama, the adventure is fun and visually appealing. The comedy lands at the right times with great dialogue and serves as a nice contrast to the more emotional moments. The pace moves well and overall this is a highly entertaining film with an inspiring theme and does EXACTLY what a remake should do, expand and broaden the source material.
Time: 114 min
MPAA Rating: PG (For some crude comments, language and action violence)