10 April 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Story and Film Review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)As you might suspect, I'm endlessly curious about the process of transforming the written word to the silver screen. Sometimes when reading a novel, I find it easy to envision how the action could be translated to film. But what about a short story?

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" was first published in The New Yorker in 1939. James Thurber's protagonist is an absentminded man who must drive his wife to the hairdresser and then run a few errands. On the surface, Walter lives a dull and ordinary life, but deep within him flows a vivid imagination and all the excitement and urgency of a war hero or world-famous brain surgeon.

In the 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter's story is brought into the twenty-first century. In real life, mild-mannered Walter (played by Ben Stiller) is in charge of the photos for Life magazine, but in his head, he's a modern-day hero, lady's man, and tough guy. In fact, he spends so much time daydreaming, his co-workers have begun to harass him. As the print magazine comes to an end, it's Walter's job to prepare the final cover photo; there's just one problem, the negative is nowhere to be found. Will Walter muster up the gumption to travel to the ends of the earth to find the photographer (played by Sean Penn)? What happens when imagination becomes reality?

I really loved the updated version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Not only is the scenery beautiful (Greenland, New York City, Iceland, the Himalayas) but the story itself is uplifting without being sappy. The main message is to embrace life instead of just imagining what it could be. Walter also learns that change can bring opportunity.

The Blu-Ray/DVD won't be available until April 15, but thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, I was lucky enough to view the movie early on Google Play. But guess what? I'm not all that special because you too can get The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and many other movies on Google Play before they're released on disk to stores.

Although I've often streamed movies, this was my first experience with Google Play. I was pretty impressed with how easy the app was to use across my devices. I started out watching the movie on my PC in my office and finished watching on my iPad (with earbuds) on the deck so I could soak up the late afternoon sun. I had no problem switching devices or operating systems.

Another great thing about Google Play was the simplicity of using closed captioning. This is a big plus for me because both my father and Mr. BFR have hearing issues and often rely on good captioning. All I had to do on my tablet was tap on the "cc" in the bottom right-hand corner and the captions appeared instantly. They were easy to read and didn't interfere with the picture.

I also thought it was pretty cool to be able to first read the short story from The New Yorker site and then switch to the film, all on the same gadget. In fact, I was thinking that it'd make a fun book club meeting to read the story together (it's only four pages) and then watch the movie.

Check back next week for a great The Secret Life of Walter Mitty giveaway. I'm pretty excited about the prize pack. In the meantime, however, you can watch the movie at home or on the go by using the Google Play app.


bermudaonion 4/10/14, 8:52 AM  

I was supposed to see this movie with a friend but we never made it to the theater.

I am so out of it, I've never heard of Google Play but it sounds like something my guys would love.

Beth Hoffman 4/10/14, 9:38 AM  

I suspect I'd really like this film. I echo Kathy in that I've never heard of Google Play!

Daryl 4/10/14, 3:05 PM  

i will be the only one who is negative about this i am sure .. not a fan of Ben Stiller and i really dont like anything Google ... however i have read the short story and loved it .. thanks!

Tina 4/10/14, 3:09 PM  

I am not normally a Ben Stiller fan but I really, really want to see this movie! Glad to hear the updated version is good. I am looking forward to it.

Chrisbookarama 4/10/14, 5:48 PM  

I think I'd like to see this one. Thanks for the review.

Kailana 4/11/14, 12:20 PM  

I have been meaning to see this so I can finally review the story. I listened to it on audio in like January!

Melissa (Avid Reader) 4/11/14, 3:05 PM  

This one looked really fun. I need to rent it soon.

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