The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
(PG) Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig
For a few days after I saw this film, when I thought about it, it made me smile. I smiled at its whimsy and total abandon to the fantasy world in Walter Mitty’s head.
Based on the short story by James Thurber and bearing no resemblance to the all singing, all dancing Danny Kaye version, this version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is directed by Ben Stiller and it shows. It is by turns outrageously funny, insightful and creative, visual and imaginative. It is a joy to watch.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has a very active daydream life.
Mitty is a negative asset manager at LIFE magazine (he develops pictures for the company known for its iconic photography). Walter’s life hits a snag when the company changes management and is downscaled from print magazine to online entity.
Walter has a tendancy to “zone out” and escape into his imagination. A world where he is much more courageous and brave than he could ever be in reality.
Walter is a daydreamer, and he wants his existence to be writ large at all times, but stuck in life’s first gear he can only fantasise about an exciting life—one where adventures occur often and he and Cheryl in accounts (Wiig) are together.
Stiller’s film often transcends and transforms into something genuinely uplifting, inspirational and possibly even a little soulful (one moment thanks to a song by David Bowie).
The set piece-like daydreaming sequences are frequently technically dazzling with plenty of action and CGI effects. Walter Mitty yearns for a more remarkable life (one daydream that spoofs “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is laugh out loud funny and showcases Stiller’s and Wiig’s broad comedy skills).
Life is precisely what Walter has been missing out on during his 16 years of faithful service, which makes the magazine’s motto — “…to see the world (and) things dangerous to come to…” — an appropriate mantra for his first real adventure.