DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Blu-ray (2013)
Published on May 1, 2014
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Blu-ray (2013)Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn Director: Ben Stiller Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment [4/15/14] (3 discs) Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA; English Descriptive Audio 5.1; French, Spanish DD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette; Deleted, extended and alternate scenes; Photo gallery; “Stay Alive” music video by Jose Gonzalez; Theatrical trailer; DVD copy; UltraViolet digital copy Length: 114 minutes Movie Rating: ***** Video Rating: ***** Audio Rating: *****
Ben Stiller both directs and stars in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a shy photo manager for Time Magazine. Walter is prone to zone out and daydream about himself being a more adventurous, romantic and heroic man. Walter has a crush on co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) and he often retreats into his daydreams to imagine himself becoming closer with her. When Time opts to discontinue its print division in favor of becoming an on-line only publication, Walter is put in charge of producing a certain picture from renown photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) for the final cover. When Walter can’t locate the picture, he sets forth on a real-life adventure across several countries to track down Sean and recover the missing photo.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is based on a short story by author James Thurber. The story was previously made into a movie that starred Danny Kaye. I had not heard much about Stiller’s movie version before watching this Blu-ray, other than perhaps seeing the movie trailer on television late last year. It seemed to me back then that this movie was being marketed as a typical Ben Stiller comedy, and while there are a few bits of humor in it, this picture is more appropriately classified as an adventure/drama in my opinion. Whether taking a different marketing approach would have improved this film’s box office performance is unclear, but one thing I can say for sure is that I really enjoyed this movie. The story, the acting and the music were all terrific which creates significant replay value for this Blu-ray. Highly-recommended!
The overall high-definition video quality of this Blu-ray is excellent. Images are razor-sharp with fine detail. Black levels are velvety dark throughout the movie. While there is some intentional blue tint color stylization in several parts of the film, colors are otherwise lush with nicely-saturated hues. Picture defect mastering is solid with no major flaws or compression artifacts. The overall audio quality is also excellent. The soundtrack is wide, enveloping and makes wonderful use of all discrete channels. Dialogue is crisp, intelligible and properly positioned among the forward sound stage. The surround channels are actively utilized for the sound effects and music score, plus include multiple split rear effects and directional pans. The low frequency effects channel is tight with some unexpected punch in several scenes.
—Calvin Harding Jr.