New Years Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The second film adaptation of James Thurber's 1939 short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a remarkable tale of one man's journey around the world to find a lost photo for the cover of Life Magazine, and also find out the true meaning of what "life" actually is. Directed and starring the comedic Ben Stiller, who hasn't been doing a lot in the past few years, Walter Mitty is an indy-like film with the masterfully-hidden aspects of a brilliant masterpiece. Telling the story of how one odd, imaginative daydreamer searches for the true meaning of what it means to live is what fuels this visual and detailed piece of art.

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I knew instantly that it would be an amazing experience in the theater. However, actor Ben Stiller being the director made me a little cautious as to how the film would turn out. But, to my disbelief, Stiller proved that he could be a comedic actor and a surprisingly awesome visual director as well. The film itself is, as I stated before, a true masterpiece and a powerful achievement, blending together elements of comedy, romance, and even some amazing daydreaming theatrics (a la massive exploding buildings and dramatic fights over one stretchy doll). Another thing that made this film visually amazing was the scenery. From the booming city of the Big Apple to the isolated peaks of the Himalayas, the journey of one Walter Mitty becomes a visual and exciting voyage of soul-searching and risk-taking.

The cast of the film was somewhat small, but came to be pretty interesting. Leading the cast is the comical actor/director Ben Stiller, who plays the soft-spoken daydreaming Walter Mitty. I last saw Stiller in the 2011 comedy Tower Heist, alongside the hilarious Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick. I never knew Stiller was a director until this film, his other works being films such as the comedies Tropic Thunder and Zoolander, both in which he starred also. Now, seeing this film and instantly loving it, I can take Stiller seriously now as a talented director, alongside being a pretty funny actor. The female lead, the Saturday Night Live veteran Kristen Wiig, was excellent as Walter's crush and a fellow employee at Life. I last saw Wiig in the 2012 quirky comedy Girl Most Likely, a decent comedy about finding out who you really are after your life gets messed up. She's always funny in whatever she does, but didn't need to be that funny in this film because her charming and good-hearted nature was all that she needed to make the film special. Another character I liked in the film was Mitty's jerk boss, Ted Hendricks, played by the Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott. While his makeshift beard might not have worked so well, Scott was an essential character to defy Mitty's beliefs and urge him to find the missing photo by the mysterious photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn). While the cast was pretty small, it managed to create a story and atmosphere that all clicked together in the end to make this satisfying masterpiece by the talented Ben Stiller.

The scenery of the film is purely amazing. From New York to Greenland to Iceland and back, Walter Mitty's ultimate journey was a true journey indeed, Mitty searching for both a missing photo, and his true meaning for what life is. I honestly didn't expect Ben Stiller to go this far in a 2-hour film, taking the audience from place to place in the most delightful and masterful way. Along his enlightening and dangerous voyage, Mitty much travel by plane, boat, helicopter, car, bike, and finally long-board, as he meets some interesting people from drunk pilots to Himalayan hikers that aid in his trek towards Sean O'Connell.

Overall, this film was an extraordinary tale of inspiring romance, whimsical comedy, dramatic daydreaming, and determined soul-searching. If you want a film that both excites and inspires you in one special and original story, then go see this film because you'll remember it and you won't regret it.

I gave this film a 9 out of 10 because it's a masterfully-told story with a unique cast and some amazing visuals. This film was the perfect film for a great New Years Eve, that inspired and reassured me of what it really means to be alive, and that the risks and ventures you take ultimately decide who you will be. Happy New Year, everybody! 2014, here we come!        

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