The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Ben Stiller

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller's adaptation of James Thurber's classic short story of a daydreamer is an entertaining adventure that actually fares better on home video. When the film was released last Christmas, the special effects that illustrate Mitty's fantasies dazzled on the big screen, but smothered a good script by Steve Conrad. On the smaller canvas of TV, the CGI is contained, but that allows the touching story of a meek everyman breaking out of his shell and exploring life to emerge.

Stiller's Mitty is a photo editor assigned to find a missing negative that daredevil photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn in a cameo) intends for the cover of Life magazine's final issue. However, what truly drives Mitty is co-worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), a sweet single mom who Mitty dreams of winning over, but with whom he doesn't have the courage to chat. Mitty's transformation from daydreamer to action hero still happens too abruptly, but Stiller makes Mitty so likable that you can't help but cheer for the guy as he breaks out of his shell. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is actually more rewarding the second time around.

Unfortunately, no audio commentary appears in this package, though 60 minutes of bonus features are spread across the blu-ray and the DVD. Short featurettes examine the set design and musical score, but the fun ones explore the fanciful opening title sequence, a behind-the-scenes look at shooting Stiller's skateboarding scenes in the gorgeous Icelandic countryside, an animated "pre-viz" of an elaborate chase sequence through Manhattan, auditions of the supporting actors in Iceland and "The History of Walter Mitty," which honours James Thurber and references the 1947 film starring Danny Kaye (that Thurber detested). Altogether, they are a decent batch of extras, though "The History" could be longer.