The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Blu-ray Review
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY feels like it should be an existential film about finding yourself and overcoming your fears, but director Ben Stiller tells it in such a literal manner that it’s sometimes hard to see anything below the surface. But if you squint just a little, you can see that THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY is a touching, sweet movie about a guy trying to find the courage he never had, but always wanted.
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works at Time magazine, handling negatives from various photographers. When Ted (Adam Scott) comes in to lead the charge to shut down the magazine in favor of an online only version, the decision is made to use Sean’s (Sean Penn) newest photo on the cover of the last issue. The problem is that Walter can’t find the elusive picture and that ends up being the excuse Walter needs to follow Sean around the globe to retrieve the image. Of course, it doesn’t help that he now has the attention of Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) and is eager to impress her with his newfound courage.
Walter is a shy, timid guy with low self-esteem that can’t ask out the girl and can’t stand up to the new boss. His lack of ambition and adventure is highlighted during a call with a Match.com consultant and through various fantasies he imagines himself living. To say Stiller didn’t leave anything to interpretation would be an understatement, but it works for the kind of movie he made. He’s not necessarily trying to get the audience to think or to read anything into the film, he just wants to tell a story about a guy finding himself. And in that regard, he succeeded. Some of the fantasies are strange, while others effectively highlight something missing in Walter’s life. The inconsistency hurt the film in the early stages, but weren’t necessarily fatal.
To do a post mortem analysis on THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, the film’s struggles might be attributed to Ben Stiller the actor and not Ben Stiller the director. Ben did a great job in the role, but it didn’t feel like the best fit between character and actor. The target audience for the film feels like people between 25 and 35, since that’s when most people go through the type of crisis that Walter was going through. At nearly 50 years-old, Stiller might have alienated his target audience by taking on the lead role. That’s not a knock on Stiller’s performance, but I think another actor might have been able to relate more to the character and more accurately portray some of Walter’s hopes and fears. The other major issue with the film is the obnoxious use of product placements. It wasn’t just a character holding a Pepsi can in the background, they actually worked products into the script. That just diminishes the integrity of the film and I couldn’t help but feel the plot didn’t originally call for the use of products, but they were written in later to accommodate the financers.
At one point, Fox had hopes that THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY would compete for an Oscar. A few bad screenings and a lukewarm public reception cooled those aspirations, but that doesn’t mean the film is a disappointment. In fact, the film is actually pretty enjoyable, even if there’s nothing below the surface to make you think. It should also be noted that it’s a good, wholesome film that’s safe for the whole family. It’s hard these days to find a live-action film that’s both enjoyable and safe for the family.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: One of the good things about THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY was the beautiful locations and they look amazing on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was just as impressive.
Deleted Scenes (15:45): There are a handful of scenes made up of deleted, alternate and extended scenes. I didn’t see anything in here noteworthy.
Behind the Scenes (38:10): Ten mini-featurettes make up the behind the scenes feature and as with most short featurettes, none of these do enough to fully explore the subject they’re covering. I also wanted to hear more from Ben Stiller. I was (and still am) curious as to how so many products were incorporated in the film and why he chose to cast himself (I think I know the answers to both – money – but I’d like to hear his answer).
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