The Secret Life of Walter Mitty may have been an insightful, deeply meaningful and entertaining short story by James Thurber. When remade (oh yes! there has been another movie based on the short story long long ago), it may not have any resemblance to what James Thurber has written. The only resemblance to the short story would be the day dreaming Walter Mitty played by Ben Stiller. It is Ben Stiller playing Walter Mitty onscreen and Ben Stiller directing the movie behind the scenes make this a perfect one for the holidays.
Walter Mitty works for Life Magazine and handles the negatives department. He is good at what he does and have served the company for the past 16 years. Being good at his work is not enough to get him open up to the girl he is smitten with ie Cheryl Melhoff(Kristen Wiig) either online or offline. To make things complicated, Walter zones out according to his parlance which means he daydreams. In fact, he dreams about all the things he doesn't have the courage to do. When Life decides to shut down their operations to concentrate on the online edition, Walter searches for the missing negative 25 taken by Sean O'Connell(Sean Penn). This frantic search for the negative makes him overcome his fears and do things which he would normally have not done.
Ben Stiller bases his drama in New York and moves to many other part of the world in search of the negative. His movie stands for three reasons. First, it is the Ben Stiller the actor. Forget all the silly movies of which you have seen so far. The only thing he brings to this movie from his past repertoire is trying to make the humor stick out by underplaying the reactions. In this movie, he is still underplaying the role. But at the same time, he gives genuine expression on his face that makes you feel the guy who has given up a lot to provide his family after his dad's demise. One of the best scenes to watch out for him is when he gets on to the helicopter in Greenland. He has done it but he neither believe he has done it nor has any idea where the courage came from! You can see it all in Ben Stiller's face.
The second thing which makes this movie interesting is the imagery. The photography makes it clear Walter Mitty is lonely. The composition is done in order to highlight this factor. Walter is boring, in the traditional sense, and hence he is pitted against a lonely backdrop always. But this composition turns out to be so eye-pleasing and attention-capturing that you end up wishing to have visited these places. The third is the enjoyable sound track. The movie has so many songs coming up at the right junctures in the movie which makes you feel the emotions of Walter Mitty.
This movie is sans the regular gang of Ben Stiller. The rest of the cast like Shirley MacLaine as Walter's mother, Adam Scott as the obnoxious managing director of the transition and Sean Penn play their parts well but is overshadowed by Ben Stiller.
This is the perfect movie for the holidays. After the movie, wait for the credit to finish if you love photographs. There are some amazing photographs during the end credits.