The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Did that just happen? Did that really just happen? Did Ben Stiller just make a movie that I wouldn’t mind having in my DVD collection!! Well that’s a first!

Of course the movie locales are just awesome – such lovely shots of the ocean, sunset, Greenland, Iceland etc. – along with the background score it makes for a great watch, but it was more than just that. It was the whole concept of the protagonist “zoning out” to escape from his mundane existence and what they had done with it in the movie.

When I had gone for the movie I had no idea what it was about – I was just accompanying some friends who wanted to see it. Now that I have done my research I know that it was a second, more modernised film adaptation of the James Thurber’s short story. However I still love the way that the movie creates Walter Mitty’s alternate universe with some main stream movie themes and juxtaposes it to the lost look that Ben Stiller always has when he’s zoned out making him seem a little mentally deficient to the onlooker. As a person who dramatises the most mundane conversations of the day, the fact that the protagonist’s imagination runs wild at the most normal daily encounters, makes him so relatable to me.

That he’s also very good at his work but doesn’t ever bring up it up is another relatable trait. With the kind of upbringing me and my friends had, boasting is considered a bad quality and one doesn’t ever really talk about the great work that one does. Its a drawback in a world where show is more important than substance. We wish that somebody should recognise our worth and appreciate it like Sean O’Connel does for Walter Mitty in the movie referring to negative 25 as the “Quintessence of Life”.

Add Shirley McLain (I just adore her in Guarding Tess & Mrs. Winterbourne) to the mix, playing Walter Mitty’s mother – the grounding character to his restless mind and you have a complete formula for a dreamy feel good movie.

The movie focuses more on visuals (and what great ones at that!) than dialogues to carry forward the narrative which adds to the dreamy charm of the movie. However the minimalistic dialogues are not to be taken for granted – Most of them are going to be in my quoting list for a long time ahead –

Cheryl:  “Major Tom—that song is about courage and about going into the unknown.  It’s a cool song.”

Trawler Captain: “Unfriend the shark! Now!”

Walter Mitty: “OMG That really happened?”

Sean O’Connell: “Beautiful things don’t ask for Attention”

Sean O’Connell: “If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”

Not to forget the Motto of Life Magazine: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

The only tad overdone dialogue –

Todd Maher: “I pictured you as this little grey piece of paper, but now I see you and it’s like Indiana Jones decided to become the lead singer of The Strokes or something.”

P.S.: Been wanting to update this for some time now …. but “being there doing that” got in the way.

Also there are great reviews of the movie here.

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