We’ve seen Ben Stiller do a number of noteworthy things in the previously-released trailers for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, be it jumping out of a helicopter into a shark-filled ocean, skateboarding through the backroads of Iceland or calling up Patton Oswalt on his cellphone while hiking in the Himalayas. How many of these acts take place in the real-world of the film – and how many take place within the mind of the eponymous milquetoast Mr. Mitty (Stiller) – remains to be determined.
A new extended trailer for the film run six minutes long (and includes previously-unseen footage), but fortunately it doesn’t spoil much about the plot that hadn’t already been revealed in previous clips. The scope of Stiller’s latest starring/directing effort – loosely based on the James Thurber short story that was previously adapted to movie form in 1947 – continues to impress, as do the photography choices made by Stiller and the film’s cinematographer, Stuart Dryburgh (Emperor).
Indeed, virtually every shot in Stiller’s film seems to be a carefully composed panorama, whether it’s showing the interior of Walter’s bland apartment or a birds-eye view of endless tundra and mountains frosted in snow and ice. It compliments the notion that Stiller’s protagonist begins to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of everything around him, once he steps outside his small insulated world and expands his mind (well, somewhat anyway, seeing how he started off with a pretty active imagination in the first place).
Secret Life of Walter Mitty started off strong, with an extended preview shown at the 2013 CinemaCon that left movie bloggers raving over what they got to see. However, since then, reviews have started to trickle in and the general reaction has been decidedly mixed, with everyone agreeing that the film is beautiful to look at – save those who accuse it of being a knockoff of Wes Anderson’s style – and has its heart in the right place, but disagreeing over whether it’s a uplifting movie experience or a mawkish one. (Tellingly, every positive quote in the extended trailer comes from Empire Magazine, as you might’ve noticed.)
That said, as a warm-hearted PG-Rated adventure full of life-affirming lessons, it’s hard to imagine that Secret Life of Walter Mitty won’t manage to pull in a decent crowd during the upcoming winter holiday season.The visuals alone seem to be reason enough to give this one a look on the big screen (failing all else).
Rounding out the cast for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are Kristen Wiig (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Adam Scott (A.C.O.D.), Kathryn Hahn (Tomorrowland), Shirley MacLaine (Downton Abbey) and Sean Penn (The Gunman).
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2013.