The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Film Review)

Feb 8, 2014
'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' is a search for the unknown. To places beyond our widest reach. To step out and breathe the true sense of life. This is Ben Stiller's latest directorial effort, bravely enough to test what other comic directors didn't dare to cross. Being planned to made for nearly two decades, and even Steven Spielberg's name attached to helm the classic James Thurber story, is this movie worth the hype? Or the other way around?

Ben Stiller plays the titular Walter Mitty, a negative assets manager of LIFE Magazine and a normal daydreamer. All of a sudden, he will "zone out" and think of the craziest dreams imaginable: Whether it's saving somebody off a burning building, fighting off a bearded Adam Scott on the streets of New York, or even goofing around to 'Benjamin Button'. When photographer Sean O' Connell delivered a negative 25 for the final cover of LIFE Magazine, things didn't work out as Walter misplaced the photo. Through then, he embarked on a journey from Iceland to Afghanistan to track down O' Connell and search the lost photo, and himself.

The response for this movie had been mixed. Some absolutely hated it, and some enjoyed it quite a bit. And I kind of get why because this film has its own problems as well. Some characters are miscast, notably Adam Scott, playing Mitty's obnoxious boss. There's nothing really special about his character other than the fact that he's one-sided and irritating for most of the time. Second, the product placements are everywhere. Other than LIFE Magazine, Papa John's played a vital role in the movie. There's a scene in a movie where Ben Stiller sits in a Papa John's branch for almost five minutes, and the whole part added nothing to the story apart from being a long commercial.
And lastly, it's too style over substance. I mean, it's a gorgeous looking movie I gotta tell you. A lot of shots were breathtaking, but it's merely just that. But don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie. Though not as fun as Tropic Thunder or Zoolander, still is a good time at the movies. Ben Stiller might not be the actor perfect for the role of Walter Mitty (I imagine Steve Carrell or Sam Rockwell nailing the character), he still delivered a neat and worthy performance. Kristen Wiig was also good in this movie, at least she tried to do something serious outside of her usual over-the-top comic antics. Sean Penn and Patton Oswalt were also great in their fun yet short roles. 

Beyond it's problems and convincing product placements, there is still something about 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' that made it worth seeing. The dream scenes are cool sequences, but the real moments are the ones that needed the improvements. Ben Stiller succeeded creating the look of life, the message is there, but the true essence weren't: resulting to a slightly disappointing film.

The geek rates it 6/10.
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