The teaser trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is awe-inducing in terms of visuals, yet the basic premise behind the film – wherein an over-imaginative, yet milquetoast, officer worker set out upon a real adventure – also registers on an emotional level. But is the newly-released full-length theatrical trailer just as intriguing? And, more importantly, is the actual movie a viewing experience worth having, according to the initial wave of reviews?
First things first, the second trailer for star/director Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (loosely based on the short story written by James Thurber, which previously inspired the 1947 Technicolor comedy headlined by Danny Kaye) provides a more detailed breakdown of the story, albeit without spoiling any major twists or turns along the way. By the end, we’ve been given basic information (no more or less) about the event(s) that inspire Walter (Stiller) to take a break from his escapist fantasies – and try to do something grand and exciting in real life instead.
Stiller’s take on Secret Life of Walter Mitty (as penned by The Pursuit of Happyness screenwriter, Steve Conrad) continues to impress in the latest trailer, with regards to the cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh – whose resume includes The Tempest (2010) and Emperor, in addition to the Boardwalk Empire pilot – as well as the cast, which includes Kristen Wiig (Anchorman: The Legend Continues), Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation) and Kathryn Hahn (We’re the Millers), along with the Oscar-winners Shirley MacLaine (Downton Abbey) and Sean Penn (Gangster Squad).
As for the actual movie? Well, so far, the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes seem to admire the film’s ambition and the earnestness with which Stiller tells the story. However, where it concerns whether or not The Secret Life of Walt Mitty is an inspirational and intelligent American fable for modern times (much less, a movie that will be meaningful for a wide range of moviegoers), the reviewers are more lukewarm in their feelings.
Here are a few telling review excerpts, to better illustrate our meaning (note: click any of the included links for the full review):
A lyrical comic fable… [The] film’s pleasures may be too minor key and its pace too meandering to conquer the mainstream. But audiences willing to tune in to its blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and poignancy will be rewarded.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” update finally exists, smarter and less screwball than previous attempts… Rather than channeling James Thurber’s satirical tone, Stiller plays it mostly earnest, spinning what feels like a feature-length “Just Do It” ad for restless middle-aged auds, on whom its reasonably commercial prospects depend.
A visually playful enlightenment drama that’s so preoccupied with inspiring its audience that it never bothers articulating a coherent message to inspire them with, Stiller’s film so consistently undercooks its cheap Hallmark sentiments that none of these pseudo-rousing peans to the inherent wonder of being alive ever congeal into anything meaningful.
That aside: how does The Secret Life of Walter Mitty look and sound to you? Will you be checking it out in theaters?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens in theaters on December 25th, 2013.
Source: Yahoo! Movies