short story by James Thurber
add to Gooreads/read it/listen to audio version
film starring Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn
20th Century Fox; PG; 115 minutes
April 15, 2014 release
info on IMDb/buy in Digital HD/or BluRay
“Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Read the short story: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber on The New Yorker's site
The movie summary:
A day-dreamer escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, he takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.
Both feature Walter Mitty, a man happy to let his imagination run away, to get lost in his daydreams. He gets so lost in his visions of being someone else, someone great, accomplished and impressive that it hinders his actual life.
However, there are quite a few differences between the story and the movie. The story, first published in The New Yorker in 1939, obviously shorter and focusing on a more select time period, has quite a different tone and different outlook than the movie. Married man, Walter MItty, is a downtrodden character, harangued by his wife who finds refuge in his imagination. His ‘secret lives’ are very much an escape.
In the movie, “The Secret Lives of Walter Mitty,” Walter is still that under appreciated character. Here he is single, with his sister and new boss taking the role of not respecting the man (in the story it was his wife and strangers).
It is here where the movie takes a more optimistic look on Walter's future than did the story. Movie Walter Mitty, is less resigned to his circumstance and trying to change things for himself. He is the guy who's never gone anywhere (literally or figuratively), who hasn't had adventure. Yet, here even if it isn't in his nature, or what he believes to be his nature, he's not going to give up.
Walter Mitty (in the movie) isn't going to accept things as they are and that's when his life really begins.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a fun, sometimes kind of wacky movie about a day-dreamer who maybe isn't as satisfied with his life in the doldrums as he thought. Walter's relationships, from those with his mother and sister to the work related and a possible romance, add something both to Walter's journey and the story. When you add in the really beautiful locations and filming, it's a movie you'll want to see.
I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on Digital HD, through the Google Play store. While I've watched shorter videos, trailers and clips through the Google Play store, this was the first time I watched a full length film.
I'm, actually, very glad I did and for several reasons. Movies like Walter Mitty available in Digital HD can be purchased and downloaded through several sources: the Play store, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, on Xbox and more. You not only get instant, sometimes early, access to the film but can view it on different devices.
I can watch my copy from Google Play on my Nook HD+ (they have the Play store), through the website or even on my phone if I want. The movie streams on my computer but can be downloaded or played on the Android devices.
The HD of Digital HD looked great both on my Nook HD and when played, through my computer, to the TV. Nooks, Kindles and iPads are, I believe, able to connect to TVs through HDMI ports. While I can't know for sure how image quality would transfer with that method, I am assuming it would be as good.
With the instant access, the streaming or downloading, and ability to view on multiple devices, I am, now, more interested in Fox's Digital HD and the Play store as well.
It's nice being able to read the short story or book that inspires a movie and then, on the same device, watch that movie in such great quality.
If you already have or plan to read the short story and see the movie: Do you think the differences are simply a case of updating, modernizing the tale? Or are they plot, character changes?
Which version do you prefer?
A copy of the film was provided for review and mentions of Google Play and Digital HD; thoughts are my own.