Synopsis: Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a man who daydreams consistently, is trying to find a lost film negative for the final issue of LIFE magazine.
Review: In a more mature film than his usual comedy escapades, Ben Stiller pulls double duty in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. He is not only the titular Mitty, he also serves as director. The plot follows Walter, a daydreamer, who was given the final set of photographs for LIFE from Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). However, the negative Walter needs, number 25, is missing.
What sets forth is two hours of weird daydreams, and a B-plot romance between Walter and his co-worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). Because Walter has never taken chances before, he finally takes some risks and travels the world to find negative number 25, traveling to Greenland, Iceland, and the Middle East.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty could’ve been a great film. The colors and visual imagery is breathtaking. However, the plot gets muddled with too many of Walter’s daydreams and that takes too much time away from what is true plot and what is a daydream. While you can clearly tell what is a daydream and what isn’t, the daydreams are usually long in sequence and once Walter is back in reality, you forget where you left off.
The film also underutilizes the supporting cast. Having someone as big as Shirley MacLaine in your cast and only featuring her in about five minutes worth of 114 is senseless. The film also changes tone drastically from Walter’s love life (or lack thereof) to his own self-discovery was a bit odd as well.
There are a few one-liners that help add some humor to the film, and Patton Oswalt’s character Todd, Walter’s e-Harmony customer service representative, was a nice – yet random, addition to the film. Adam Scott also takes a nice turn as one of the antagonists Ted, who is handling LIFE’s transition into the online world.
The soundtrack for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was probably one of the best parts of the movie. The tracks fit perfectly with the scenes and helped put a mood with some of them that fit perfectly with beautiful scenery in the film. You can purchase the soundtrack online, or is included in one retailer’s exclusive edition – it is definitely worth a buy.
But looking at the film in its Blu-ray release, 20th Century Fox did very well with its bonus features as well as the look and sound of the release. Crisp picture and crystal clear sound is evident, and some nice documentary features also make the release worth it. The behind-the-scenes and production pieces show how much work went into the film, and it helps make you appreciate it more.
While The Secret Life of Walter Mitty isn’t a perfect film, it is two hours that is definitely a departure from what Ben Stiller usually does. Everyone involved with the film took a risk, and while it wasn’t a home run, it wasn’t a strikeout either.
Film Grade – 7.0/10
Blu-ray Grade – 8.5/10