The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a well known short story by James Thurber, it first appeared in The New Yorker in 1939 and was later released in novel form as a collection of stories by the author in 1942. The story concerns Mitty who is a hapless, timid man with a penchant for daydreams. His life is orderly and rather mundane so the character uses his daydream fantasies as a way to escape the humdrum of every day life. The story was adapted into a film starring Danny Kaye in 1947, now Ben Stiller is directing a modern day adaptation and will also star in the film as Mitty.
In this modern day version of the story Mitty works for a magazine as a Photo Editor, he spends his days dreaming about great adventures and trying to charm his co-worker Cheryl, played by Kristen Wiig. When his job is threatened Mitty sets out on a real life globe-trotting adventure for the first time and tries to break out of his comfort zone. The film depicts his fantasies in vivid detail, in one dream Mitty is an explorer in Iceland, in another he is a Jason Bourne-style action man etc.
The fantasy scenes occurring in Mitty’s head are cleverly incorporated into the film and this helps the trailer stand out. The viewer never knows when a normal scene will suddenly transform in real-time as one of Mitty’s daydreams takes over. In one scene Mitty stares at a photo in his office of an explorer played by Sean Penn which suddenly comes to life, the explorer in the pic beckons Mitty to enter the photo and join him. The smooth transitions from Mitty’s normal life into his adventures should provided the film with plenty of spectacles.
Stiller is well cast here as the main character and he excels with unassuming nice guy roles. The actor has made a good living by starring in comedy films and it is nice to see him branch out and attempt to direct his own feature.
The trailer is entertaining and it doesn’t give away too many details. There is also hardly any dialogue as it instead uses the song Dirty Paws by the band Of Monsters and Men as a score. The song plays through the whole trailer which has no sound effects or dialogue until the end when Mitty talks to a stranger. This approach works well as it allows the imagery on-screen and the music to work together without interruptions.
The film has a lot of potential and it could turn out to be one of the best movies this year. It will be released on Boxing Day so have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.