The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Reviews
The film starts off strong and sets up the premise well. Walter (Ben Stiller) is a middle aged socially inept man who zones out every once in a while and lives out crazy fantasies in his head whilst living a very mundane life (though one where he has plenty of expandable income and works at a renowned magazine). An important photo negative has gone missing and Walter must set out to find it. It really isn't about the photo, but rather the film's message which they repeat ad nauseum throughout the film. The film is about living your dreams and living a full life. Apparently, living your dreams involves getting into a helicopter with a drunken pilot during stormy weather - a good message to everyone. Walter turns from a shy, lonely man to an adventurous happy one, but the transition is way too sudden. Honestly, for a large portion of the film I was waiting for it to turn out it was just another instance of him zoning out. The things he actually does are almost as over the top as his daydreams. I guess in that sense he really is living his dreams and he stops daydreaming the more exciting shit he does, but still. Also, the whole movie he is chasing this photo that is supposed to be "the quintessence of life", when it is finally revealed, it's a bit disappointing. They should've really come up with a better photo.
Even though the story is a bit fantastical and over the top and unrealistic and requires a big suspension of disbelief and so on, the film is consistent whole when it comes to plot, cinematography, and soundtrack. The camera is almost constantly in motion, spinning around, crane shots, etc. Walter has entered a new wonderful world and the camera tries to capture it all just as Walter does. Also, the shots of the various vistas in the film are beautiful. I can't give too much credit there since nature is just beautiful in general. The soundtrack is upbeat and at the same time melancholic. It features sort of spooky vocals along percussion and adds to the sense of wonderment and fantasticalness.
Unfortunately, the characters are pretty meh. Walter is inconsistent just like the plot, but he is a likable guy and does grow in the film, so he did the job I guess. And the movie is pretty much about him, but still, it would've been nice to have a more interesting supporting cast. The love interest, Cheryl, played by Kristen Wiig, is nice enough. She's casually funny, but she isn't that memorable of a character. Neither is Walter's mother. His sister is the typical eclectic sibling. Sean Penn plays the famed photographer Sean O'Connel. He is actually is an interesting character, but is only in one scene. Also, for a famed photographer, all you really see is photos of him and notsomuch pictures he's taken. And the "antagonist" is Ted Hendricks, aka Adam Scott with an unnerving beard. He isn't much of antagonist since he barely has any screen time and has minimal effect on the plot. It is funny how Adam Scott essentially plays a douchier Ben Wyatt; Ted does the same job that Ben from Parks and Rec does, except with private companies and not local governments.