Around this time last year a movie titled “Life of Pi” was released and was touted in the critics circle for its brilliant cinematography. While Ben Stiller’s “Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” based on the 1939 shirt story by James Thurber, may not be receiving quite the awards buzz, it is still a spectacle to behold.
Stiller directs and stars as Walter Mitty, a photo negative manager at LIFE magazine. His prominent quirk of “zoning out,” in which he becomes a far more interesting person than his meek self, seem to be the butt of many jokes in the office. When LIFE makes the transition to online, Mitty loses the negative that was to be the cover for the very last edition of the magazine. He embarks on a journey from New York City to Iceland and then to Afghanistan to find it, and come out of his own shell of a life, leaving the daydreams behind for adventures and love life off eHarmony.
Starring Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott(with a really distracting and just puzzling Abe Lincoln look alike beard) and Sean Penn, the characters become second act to the settings of the movies. Any effort they may attempt is simply disregarded in favor of sweeping shots of the beautiful landscapes.
Another casualty of the movie is the storyline. There are lengths of time during the two-hour runtime where it seems as if nothing is happening, except location appreciation.
A stingy plotline, unmentionable characters and brilliant cinematography make “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” a footer in the notes of awards season, and would have been better fit for a September release rather than a cutthroat December date during one of the strongest awards seasons in history.
“Secret Life of Walter Mitty” sits at a comfortable B level. It’s neither offensive nor mentionable, but makes for good viewing simply for the amazing cinematography not seen outside of outstanding nature movies. It is rated PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.