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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Blu-ray Review

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Blu-ray Review

3 stars

It is an ever growing cynical world we live in today, and even the best of us, with the pace of life, sometime forget to look at those around us. In those forgotten there are the meek, the quiet, the wallflower who nobody remembers, despite their quiet contributions. In 1939, James Thurber decided to write about one such person: Walter Mitty, but a story about this kind of person seems almost more relevant today that it did back then when it resonated so well.

Mitty is a stagnant creature, stalled in life by a loss long ago, and seemingly content to slowly and methodically perform the same tasks day in, day out, for the rest of his days. He does have ambition, desire, passion, but they only ever manifest in the constant daydreams he falls victim to. These daydreams are his comfort but his bane. When a photo negative is lost and his job is placed in jeopardy, Walter finally breaks out of his rigidity and starts taking some chances. His daydreams become pale compared to his new exciting reality.

If one is to be simplistic, this movie is kind of like a layered Nike ad (‘just do it’) in its message. But there are underlying themes that resonate just a little bit better than that slogan. Through Walter’s fantasies early on we see what the rest of his world is missing because he never acts on it. When he does, the results are not as wild as his dreams, they are better—they are real. It’s a study of the beauty that’s around us in the world every day, rather low key in its execution, but if you like Walter (and he is likeable) that will become apparent fairly easily.

This could have misfired. It’s not a movie of immense peaks and valleys, nor does is pander to the audience by taking those fanciful dreams into reality. It shows Walter’s world as it is, and teaches him to embrace it. After the likes of Jim Carrey, Owen Wilson, and Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of the lead, Ben Stiller’s performance, a rather against type personality, forgoes his usual bag of tricks to charm and empathise on a very different level that we’re used to. It’s refreshing and he’s just a very nice person, not something one sees too often these days. Can’t really see any of those other actors doing it as well.

Every that supports him is equally natural, with the exception of his unholy cadre of new bosses, led by Ted Hendricks. These people, with their gelled haircuts and manic beards are cartoonish and since they belong in the ‘real world’ their effect is somewhat lessened by the stereotypical office psychopaths all dressed alike look. It seems slightly out of place to me.

Music is wistful, melancholic almost, but amazingly evocative and in the end hopeful: no easy feat accomplished by Theodore Shapiro and singer Jose Gonzales.

Walter Mitty as a film is much like its protagonist, in that its subtlety and gentle inclines might just move past some unnoticed. It’s not really that funny; it’s not really that adventurous. But if Walter’s dreams catch your eye, and do their job, the hint of what this man truly is will reward you for your patience. It’s at risk of being forgettable, but not if you give Walter his dues.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence.
Runtime:
114 mins
Director
: Ben Stiller
Writer
: Steve Conrad
Cast:
Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly
Genre
: Comedy | Adventure | Drama
Tagline:
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Memorable Movie Quote: "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."
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: www.waltermitty.com
Release Date:
December 25, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available

Synopsis: An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 15, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Finnish, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; Russian: DTS 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Ukrainian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy (as download); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free

This is a very crisp MPEG-4 AVC 1080p transfer. Detail, especially in the gorgeous vistas of Walter’s adventures, is as good as it gets. This is a modern film with all the bells and whistles, so there is no sign of anything restorative of touched up. Stuart Dryburgh’s cinematography is accurately and beautiful represented.

7.1 DTS-HD mix is also a modern day offering and as good as it gets, really. The varying environments Walter visits are immersive and nuanced, dialogue is crisp and clear, sound effects wander through the room well, the music is beautiful. Top drawer stuff.

Extras include some featurettes that are okay, deleted scenes and a music video. Nothing spectacular there.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Deleted, Alternate and Extended Scenes contains sub-menus offering:
    • Deleted Scenes (1080p; 7:30)
    • Extended Scenes (1080p; 4:33)
    • Alternate Scenes (1080p; 3:42)
  • The History of Walter Mitty (1080p; 3:39), which has some brief but good background on Thurber and the story.

  • The Look of Life (1080p; 5:01) has Stiller and Conrad discussing the film's concept and how Life plays into it.

  • That's a Shark! (1080p; 5:57) focuses on the Iceland sequence.

  • The Music of Walter Mitty (1080p; 4:01) has some great scenes for you film score geeks (and you know who you are) of Theodore Shapiro recording the score.

  • Icelandic Adventure (1080p; 3:26) shows some of the non-water Icelandic sequences being set up.

  • Nordic Casting (1080p; 3:51) looks at some of the colorful character performers.

  • Titles of Walter Mitty (1080p; 2:49) profiles Kyle Cooper, the title designer.

  • Sights and Sounds of Production opens up yet another sub-menu, this one including:

    • Skateboarding Through Iceland (1080p; 2:23)

    • Ted-Walter Fight (1080p; 2:48)

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