Trailer Tuesday: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

I’m not a Ben Stiller fan.  I tolerate him in a few things (Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder) but I only really enjoy him in The Royal Tenenbaums.  Also, I’ve never read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber.  So imagine my surprise when I saw this trailer before a screening of The Wolverine, and was fascinated by it.  As things currently stand, I’m really looking forward to this.  Take a look, and read on for my thoughts:

The first thing I noticed was the perfect music choice for this trailer.  It uses the song “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men to great effect, setting a contemplative and melancholy mood.  Of course, it’s too early to tell how closely the film itself will mirror the mood of this trailer, but it’s certainly intriguing at the moment.

The trailer also uses no dialogue until the very end, with a silly but not jokey bit about rental cars (“I’ll take the red one.”).  Assuming that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is Stiller’s attempt to branch out into dramedy (see Jim Carrey in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction), the choice to show Mitty’s fantasy world without Stiller’s dialogue goes a long way in conveying that this is a different Ben Stiller than we’re used to.  Without any words to tell us about Mitty, we get the impression of a soulful dreamer who seems to be struggling to deal with the mundane world around him, particularly through Stiller’s sorrowful eyes.

The short story on which the film is based tells the tale of Walter Mitty, whose everyday experiences inspire vivid fantasies of being a Navy boat pilot, an Air Force pilot, an assassin or a surgeon.  It looks like this film adaptation will borrow the style and ideas of the story without sticking closely to its plot.  In this version, Mitty works for LIFE magazine, and seems to have some sort of romantic inclinations towards Kristin Wiig’s character.  The film also features Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Sean Penn and Shirley MacLaine in supporting roles.

It’s directed by Stiller, though it’s unknown how he’ll handle something that isn’t simply comedy.  The trailer certainly has a unique style with some interesting visuals.  Hopefully he can find the right tone for the film (which I hope would match that of the trailer), which is always the hardest thing for a “dramedy”.  I would hesitate to say that I’m downright excited for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but I’m most definitely intrigued.

What do you think?  Does The Secret Life of Walter Mitty look interesting?  Have you read the short story by James Thurber?  Do you like this new style from Ben Stiller?  Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Trailer Tuesday: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  1. Ben Stiller is only slightly above Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider in my book. He’s actually a pretty decent director/writer if The Cable Guy and Tropic Thunder are anything to go by, but as an actor I just can’t find him either funny or charming. I haven’t seen Stiller in any non-comedic work, so I’m not exactly sure he’ll be able to handle it.

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    • I feel the same way. So I was pleasantly surprised at how intrigued I was by the Walter Mitty trailer. He was good in a (slightly) more serious role in The Royal Tenenbaums. Thanks for the comment!

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