Let me fill you in with a little of the backstory.
I was in 5th grade, I’d just got the reading bug & had recently finished Ruth Park’s More Adventures of the Muddle-Headed Wombat, when the Junior School Librarian decided to sit us down & read us the opening chapter of The Hobbit. Bilbo’s hole sounded warm & comforting, and I thought it might be another lovely kids book like Wombats. It couldn’t have been any more different, but that didn’t matter, because I was hooked!
I whizzed through the Hobbit, ate up Lord of the Rings, and followed it up with a steady diet of Ursula Leguin, Dragonlance, Bram Stoker, any anything else I could get my hands on.
Having finished my HSC & not knowing what to do, my love of the world opened up to be through books was so great that I went & did library studies at TAFE!
Knowing that my early career had its genesis in the reading of this one book, the reader can understand that I have felt like I have an investment in this series, waiting for each movie to come out. Fear at what they might do. Excitement at what might be…
It’s also helpful to note that I was not overly scathing about LOTR….
Now, Walter Mitty is a different animal. I hadn’t heard of it, the modern version, or the 1947 one until I saw a preview on Apple Trailers. The music suited the trailer perfectly, the preview was both dramatic & slightly comedic… I was interested.
I’ve had a theory, I think I’ve shared it here before, that comedic actors (particularly the ones you don’t like that much) have one truly great movie in them. If we write someone off because “I don’t like Joe Bloggs movies” we run the risk of missing that gem. Will Ferrell’s “Stranger than Fiction” certainly alerted me to that!
Now to the review. (Hopefully no spoilers)
I saw the Hobbit just a day or two after it was released. I’d been ummming and ahhhhing about which movie to see first, and the old favourite won out.
As it started, I couldn’t help but feel that the opening credits were a little uninspiring. I know they went with the same style as the LOTR movies, but it seems a little like it had been dialled in.
Things never got better.
Rather than go blow for blow, I’ll just mention my major issues.
- Odd Characterisations: I felt like they made really bad decisions on how to portray different people. Beorn was a great example. I was left wondering why they left him in at all. They may as well have cut him like they did most of the Tom Bombadil stuff in LOTR.
- Love interests: Why they decided they needed love interests in the stories, particularly such odd choices, is beyond me. Really distracting and didn’t really help the story much at all…. except for….
- Making more changes to cover for changes: I felt like they dropped interesting stuff so that they could make more time to rationalise some of the stupid changes they made. It felt like there was a good quarter of an hour of a chase scene that was only there to rationalise the love interest that they added as well as the …
- Reoccurring bad guy. He doesn’t help. He’s stupid and, again, distracting.
- The sets looked too dark & the acting felt a little too much like they had done too many takes & the passion was gone.
That’s about all I can say without ruining the story for you. Now to Walter Mitty.
I was hooked when I thought it was just a story about a workaday guy who has a big adventure, but it was so much more than that. It made me gawk at this over the top world that Walter lived in, as well as appreciate the extraodinariness of my world.
The cinematography was just stunning. The opening credits, elements of which were reminiscent of “North by Northwest” were breathtaking and the Characters were well crafted. I am not in love with either Ben Stiller or Sean Penn, but they were both brilliant. The few scenes that they shared together were just magical!
If you want to be lifted up, if you want to dream bigger, if you need to feel exhilarated, then The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is for you!