I was recently asked to view and review the new Ben Stiller movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Although I am retired, I find that I have more than enough to occupy my time and, frankly, watching movies doesn’t consume much of it. I have never been much of a movie watcher and rarely even go to the show. I have plenty of other things to keep me busy, including numerous hobbies, pinochle and Mah Jongg game groups and my two 1 ½ year old puppies. I was wondering when I would actually have some downtime to commit to watching this movie.
So, when I was invited to a surprise birthday sleepover for my friend in Canada, I decided to bring along some games, home movies and my new movie. I figured that, perhaps, we’d hit a lull in the evening and want something to do. The evening started out well enough, with a birthday dinner, presents, dessert and conversation. Watching a little tv, then some home movies, and the evening seemed to headed for a downill slide.
That’s when I decided to pull out the dvd and ask if anyone would be interested in watching it. Since none of us had a clue about the original, we had no preconceived ideas of what is was about. So, we sat back, relaxed, and started the movie.
While I knew that I had seen (and enjoyed) Ben Stiller in other movies, none came to mind either before or while watching this film. I can honestly say that it kind of dragged at the beginning and when some of the over-the-top special effects started to be presented I couldn’t help but wonder if I was in for a Spiderman-like movie with no-holds barred, in-your-face effects. It wasn’t apparent to me, at first, what the need for those were, but it was soon made clear why they were needed. In retrospect I must say that they were a nice touch. Just enough, and not out of control as I feared that they were going to become.
Kristen Wiig, of “Saturday Night Live” fame added a nice, feminine touch to the film. She plays a newly-separated woman of a teenaged boy, and Walter Mitty is instantly smitten with her. The many encounters that Walter has with tech support with eHarmony to that end are pretty funny and I loved how they are scattered, quite unexpectedly in places, throughout the movie.
I was most pleasantly surprised to see one of my all-time favorite actors, Mr. Sean Penn, in this film. I’ve always loved Sean, and was happy to see him on the big screen once again. His actual on-screen time isn’t a whole lot, but anytime for me is great! There’s another big-named actor in the film, Ms. Shirley MacClaine. She, too, had a very small part, but added to the overall scheme of the plot.
The one outstanding thing about this movie is the most awesome videography! There are some absolutely stunning views of landscapes (I won’t reveal where) that were just breathtaking, really well done! It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a movie that was really thought out and filmed in such glorious attention to filling the screen with beauty.
After I watched the movie, I looked online to discover that this would have only been film five of Mr. Stiller’s that I have viewed from his vast and varied filmography and I have enjoyed them all. Out of the four others that I’ve viewed, “Meet the Parents”, “Night at the Museum”, “There’s Something about Mary” and “Along Came Polly”, Polly has to be my favorite, one not to be missed if you are in the mood for a hilarious comedy. Mary comes in a close second, but a bit more raunchy as those of you who have seen it can attest to. I was also surprised to learn that he actually directed Mitty, as well, quite a feat in my mind!
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a movie that the whole family can watch together, since it has a rating of PG, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. I found it engaging and kept my interest after the first initial lull.
Available NOW the Blu-ray and DVD are both loaded with more than an hour of behind-the-scenes special features, including deleted, extended and alternative scenes, featurettes that dive into filming in Iceland and Walter Mitty history, a gallery of exclusive reference photography, and music video “Stay Alive” by José González, and more.
FTC Disclosure: Free product was received for the purpose of this blog post. I was not asked or influenced to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.