‘Walter Mitty’ offers sweet story of daydream adventures

comp:000052bfd6a6:0000000590:30f1 0 <redirect to="http://www.planitnorthwest.com/articles/2013/12/20/9d6e82395d204ca0b655e6b1ffcdf0c6/index.xml#.UsA--mRDsTY"/>

There’s a family-friendly fairytale sense to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

This is, after all, a movie about dreaming big and realizing life’s magic. At first, these are only daydreams used to escape a humdrum life. But then the adventure enters the real world, and hope is kindled.

Based on a very short story written by James Thurber in 1939 that was turned into a fanciful film starring Danny Kaye in 1947, this version stars and was directed by Ben Stiller, our modern-day uber-schlub.

Here he’s Walter, working with photo negatives in the bowels of a modern Life magazine.

His life is so dull he distracts himself with flights of fantasy where he performs feats of daring-do.

Complications include his unexpressed affection for a co-worker (Kristen Wiig) and the fact that Life magazine has recently been bought, and a new hotshot exec (Adam Scott) seems set to fire most of the staff as things go digital.

Somehow, the negative for the perfect cover photo for Life’s final print edition is missing.

To track it down, Walter has to find a legendary photographer (Sean Penn in an extended cameo).

First Walter sets off for Greenland, then Iceland, then Afghanistan, and his imaginary adventures are replaced by real ones. It turns out there is excitement to be had in life; Walter just has to grab it.

This is a notably more upbeat attitude than the original short story had, and Stiller sells it well.

The original daydreams are broad fantasies with limited impact; as the adventures grow real, they start to matter.

Walter Mitty no longer has to hide behind daydreams. In the world he discovers, even schlubs can live large.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.