Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

[ SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY POSTER ]I’m not usually one for the slow drama, but the trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty intrigued me. It seemed like it was a message of life for the big screen and so I went to see it, although much later then I had planned to.

Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty and instantaneously, you know there’s something unique about this guy. He’s a little peculiar. You know he’s got something going on in his head, and you’re curious. It ends up that Mitty zones out a lot, visualizing one thing, but doing another, because he doesn’t have the guts to do what he’d actually like to do. It’s as if he’s living in between two lives, the life he’d like to live and the life he’s currently living and he struggles with which one to live. It’s something I know I could relate to. Haven’t we all dreamed of doing something memorable, of being something more than ordinary? Whether it be through our actions or our minds, we all want to be a “somebody”, but being a “somebody” requires leaving your comfort zone, going beyond the boundaries of our normal interactions and getting out of our life cycle, something that requires more courage then we care to admit and something that few are willing to do. This is who Walter Mitty is and his simple life demonstrates that as does the superb acting of Ben Stiller. Known for his comedies, Stiller opens a new acting dimension with this one and does an extraordinary job with the material. It’s such a simple role and yet so complex, one that causes the audience to take heed of the smallest details.

The show never gets boring because Mitty’s imagination provides the audiences with spontaneous action sequences early on until the script has a firm grasp on its viewers.

It rams home the purpose of life through Life magazine’s mission statement a few times: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of Life.” This touched me. It’s the most accurate explanation of life that I have heard of or read and it’s one I feel I can hold on to.

Walter Mitty makes us want to see the world and all that there is to offer, the big and the small, the safe and dangerous, and all of the other opposites you care to throw in here. He’s one man, but his story is uplifting and inspirational, one that makes you feel like a kid looking up to a role model, saying “I want to be that guy some day”. As someone who’s not a traveler and doesn’t intend to travel the world, this movie kept me thinking: What if I did? What if I dared to do the rash and risky, and live life more than normally, but extraordinarily? Will I travel the world someday? The answer is probably still no, but this film portrays a message of yolo the way that the term yolo is supposed to be used. Yolo is a precious term. It does NOT mean do stupid stuff and then use life as an excuse. I hate it when people use it like that. This is what it’s supposed to mean: You only live life once, so don’t waste it. Make the most of it because there’s no going back. There’s no turning back time no matter how much we may want to do so.

That is the message this movie instills in us and it does so through Stiller’s acting and some of the most phenomenal, lifelike visuals I’ve ever seen in film. I haven’t seen Gravity and I’m not sure I ever will, but for all the talk that movie’s visuals got, I’m surprised I never heard any talk about this film’s. When people say a picture says a thousand words, these are the pictures they’re talking about. All I could think of was how long it must have taken to go around the world and get all those shots.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (42Just Go With ItReal SteelMiracleScrooge)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Gangster SquadElfThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugPoseidon, Iron Man)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: 92.

Directed, produced, and starring Ben Stiller, Stiller gives a performance worthy of a best actor nomination while also giving us a lesson on the true meaning of life. Had I seen this before I wrote my movies in 2013 post, this would have been a top five film of the year for me.

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