MOVIE REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the charming story of a negative assets manager at Life Magazine, will be the next film to be featured in the Campus Activities Board’s ongoing series of movie nights on campus. Inspired by James Thurber’s 1939 short story, the film will be shown in the Phelps Theatre April 8 and 10. Students who attend the event will be able to watch the film before it is released on Blu-ray and DVD and will also be able to simulate the traditional movie-going experience with free candy and drinks provided by the CAB office.

Rated PG, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty follows a lowly Life Magazine employee and frequent daydreamer as he travels the world in search of famed photojournalist Sean O’Connell in order to get a picture from him that will serve as the cover photo for Life’s last printed issue.

Though the film’s daydream sequences are often absurd, ridiculous and maybe a little bit awkward, these moments actually prove to be quite humorous in a quirky kind of way and add greatly to the overall humor of the film. Ultimately, though, it is the film’s heart, not it’s humor, that makes it a truly enjoyable watch.

As a whole, the film proves early on to be targeted at the dreamers of the world — meant to inspire them and encourage them to go out and follow their dreams. The inclusion of Life Magazine helps achieve this, making it the perfect backdrop for this updated version of Thurber’s original story.

Filmed mostly on location, Life’s decades-long reputation for quality photojournalism clearly inspires the film’s artful, wonderfully shot cinematography, which makes all the sequences that take place in Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas truly memorable and awe-inspiring and makes for one stunning visual spectacle.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is by far one of star and director Ben Stiller’s most enjoyable roles and films to date. Watching his story unfold, one can not help but laugh at his character’s awkwardness and root for him along his journey.

In addition to Stiller, the film also sports a remarkable supporting cast that includes Kristen Wiig, who trades in her well-known Saturday Night Live characterizations for a more subtle, heart-felt performance as Mitty’s love interest; Adam Scott, who is surprisingly funnier than usual as Mitty’s antagonistic new boss; and the always funny Patton Oswalt, who plays an eHarmony customer service representative and proves that he is still funny even as just a voice on the phone.

Also making a brief appearance in the film is legendary dramatic actor Sean Penn, who gives a more light-hearted performance than usual as the equally legendary photojournalist Sean O’Connell.

The only possible downfall this movie seems to suffer from is its limited audience appeal. Since the film’s core message is essentially aimed at idealists, it makes it potentially difficult for those who don’t spend their days dreaming about what might have been or what could be to relate to Mitty’s personal struggles.

Other than this, though, there are not many other aspects of the film that should deter viewers from watching.

Overall, the only truly annoying aspect of the film is Mitty’s exceptional cell phone service everywhere he travels — especially when compared to my own cell service when I’m just sitting at home.