I liked The Secret Life of Walter Mitty more than I thought I would. Part of the problem had to do with Walter’s job. He worked as a Negative Asset Manager, a job title from so far in the past that it is virtually meaningless. I thought he was in charge collecting delinquent debts. Turns out he does something with film negatives, part of an antiquated method of photography that used a chemical process to capture a photographic image.
This sort of makes sense since he works at Life Magaizine, which ranks right up there with Look Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post, which is to say magazines no one under sixty has any memory of at all. So it is a bit confusing that everyone has cell phones and our hero is an expert skateboarder. We’re never told what year it is, but a quick google tells me that Life went online in 2009 and died in 2012. I would have guessed it went out of business in 1969.
The McGuffin in The Secret Life of Watler Mitty is a missing negative that one photographer wants used for the last cover. Clearly an important fellow who has editorial said on the cover and carte blanche on where he goes and what he shoots. Our hero Walter also has a lot of free money and time as he treks around the world tracking down the elusive photographer.
In the opening of the film, we find Walter going off into elaborate daydreams. These dreams are CGI extravegansas where Walter has visions of being a hero or an avenging angel or a great lover. These bits of alternate reality leave you wondering if any of the movie actually happened as the second half of Walter Mitty is filled with one daring adventure after another. As the credits roll, I had to wonder if Walter ever left the lobby of the Life building in the first place.
Still, it was fun and touching and kind of silly. I liked all the actors and the special effects were damned good, well, except for the crap in the fantasy sections at the start. I liked the love story and the running gag with the help rep from eHarmony. The photographer is a complete idiot who lives in some esoteric hippy centric reality and it’s impossisble to believe he would find any work anywhere. For all that, I still liked it.