The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a loose adaptation of author James Thurber's short story, like the 1947 film of the same name (which has achieved "classic" status nowadays). The plot revolves around Walter Mitty (played by Ben Stiller in the 2013 version): a hapless magazine editor, who possesses an (over)active imagination to help deal with his mundane existence - that is, until his elaborate fantasies suddenly, and without warning, collide with his real-life.
Star/director Ben Stiller's film has generated a completely-unexpected amount of early raves - in response to the footage shown at the 2013 CinemaCon a few months back (at the time of writing this) - and now, the average moviegoer can see what all the fuss is about for themselves, by watching the official teaser trailer for Stiller's larger-than-life adventure online.
In the trailer, we get a taste for Stiller's interesting choices of cinematography - see: the use of overheard camera angles to reflect Mitty's feelings of insignificance. Along the way, we also get to see several examples of pure visual poetry from the film, as crafted by Stiller and his director of photography Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano, Emperor); like, Mitty running against a backdrop of enlarged Life magazine covers (featuring historical and pop cultural icons). Everything then culminates with the final scene in the trailer: a quirky and charming sequence on its own, even before you recognize the built-in riff on the famous "Red/Blue Pill" exchange from The Matrix.
By the end of this short theatrical preview for Stiller's motion-picture, a whole lot of information and meaningful emotional content has been provided - without more than a couple lines of dialogue at the end.
[Click for Full-Sized Version]
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Initial thoughts? If this trailer is any indication, then Secret Life of Walter Mitty may very well have the makings of a modern-day masterpiece - a poignant tale about finding beauty amidst the drudgery of 21st century living, combined with gorgeous visuals and a fascinating blend of genres, thanks to the interweaving of Walter's real-world and dreamed experiences (call it this year's Life of Pi meets Cloud Atlas).
Here is a telling excerpt from Stiller's interview with Empire, about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
“What I learned as I was editing the movie is that people love the fantasy sequences but they also get invested in the real-life aspects of the movie too. They want to enjoy the fantasies, and for them to be fun and funny, but there’s also this natural desire for the story to go forward. A little goes a long way."
Indeed, if moviegoers are as taken with the final movie product as journalists and movie bloggers were at CinemaCon, then Secret Life of Walter Mitty could prove to be more than worth the many years it spent bouncing around Hollywood (with several A-list actors and directors passing on the project before Stiller became involved). What do you think?
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty stars Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott and Sean Penn. It is based on an adapted screenplay by Steve Conrad (The Weather Man, Pursuit of Happyness) and directed by Ben Stiller.
Look for the film when it opens in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2013.
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