Sunday, April 20, 2014
Video review: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” didn’t make much of a splash in theaters last December, but it’s the perfect sort of movie to find a second life on video.
Heart-warming, funny, with a few gentle life-lessons moments that aren’t too preachy, it’s the sort of movie that doesn’t aim very high but hits the modest mark it does set for itself. The film is pretty much a reflection of star Ben Stiller, who also directed from a screenplay by Steve Conrad based on the iconic James Thurber story.
Walter is a meek, reclusive photo editor for Life Magazine, which is about to print its last edition. He daydreams about a grander life full of adventure, mostly involving a co-worker (Kristen Wiig) he’s sweet on.
When the photo negative for the last magazine cover is lost, Walter sets out on an unlikely quest that will take him halfway across the world, and give him some approximation of the wild escapades he’s always envisioned. This includes jumping into shark-infested waters, skateboarding down an erupting volcano and tracking a rare snow leopard in the mountains.
Still being a comedian by background, this version is funnier than previous cinematic iterations of Thurber’s tale. This does have the effect of making Walter a little less sympathetic than he otherwise might have been. Though the laughs are probably worth it.
No one will confuse “Walter Mitty” with great filmmaking. But it’s an earnest, pleasing movie without a lot of fuss or pretension.
The movie is being released on video with an ample amount of extras. The DVD includes a comprehensive making-of documentary, including featurettes on the music, sights and sounds, plus a gallery of reference photographs.
Upgrade to the Blu-ray version, and you add five deleted scenes and eight extended scenes, plus a music video of “Stay Alive” by José González.