Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty is a dull sort of guy with a dull sort of job. To compensate for it, he fantasises about a world in which he is the hero - whether just being the guy to come up with the funny put-down or a full-blown comic-book super-hero. But his world is about to change... his job at Life magazine is under threat following a takeover and when he mislays an important photograph, intended to be the cover shot of the last-ever edition, he decides to take real action. Tracking down the photographer in the hope of recovering the negative leads Mitty on a hazardous journey to Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan. It's the stuff that his dreams have been made of, but can he really become the sort of guy he's always longed to be?
I vaguely remember, long ago at school, reading the original short story, and it didn't seem half as much fun as this version directed and starring Ben Stiller. The tag-line really says it all - "Stop dreaming, Start living" - and that's what Walter Mitty does. He's always taken the sensible but boring course through life and now he has the chance to re-invent himself. He goes from sitting behind a desk all day to jumping from a helicopter, skate-boarding down Icelandic hills, fleeing from an erupting volcano, trekking through snowy mountains and catching a glimpse of the rare snow leopard; a message to us all about not giving up on our dreams.
I'm not a huge fan of Ben Stiller and his humour but I really enjoyed this. It's not trying to be as laugh-a-minute as some of his other work - and, for me, is all the better for that.
I saw this at a free early evening screening and was surprised that there weren't more kids in the audience - it's PG rated and with a lot of thrilling but not violent action I'd expect it to appeal to younger viewers.


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