The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Movie Review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty bares little resemblance to it's 1947 counterpart staring Danny Kaye, and that is a good thing. I vaguely remember watching the 1947 adaptation - probably as a Saturday or Sunday afternoon television movie as a child. I probably enjoyed it too as I watched a lot of Danny Kaye's movies in my youth. They were always funny and entertaining.

Ben Stiller's new adaptation of the story, both of which are inspired by the short story by James Thurber, not only updates the story for today's world but also turns it into much more of a funny, feel-good, inspirational journey. Stiller and the movie's writer, Steve Conrad, have elevated the idea to a whole other level.

2013's Walter Mitty movie is a commentary on life, that can be taken as just an entertaining, cinematic journey or it can move you to thinking about doing more to experience and live a real life yourself. Step away from the computer, stop experiencing life through a camera phone and start being in and creating real life memories.

I've never been a huge fan of Ben Stiller movies and I don't really know why. They can be a bit hit or miss with the humor, sometimes going into completely silly premises that cross some imaginary line in my brain that says "I can't believe you're watching this?". Of the Ben Stiller movies I've seen I can't say any were all bad and I think his humor is growing on me.

However, it was the trailer to Walter Mitty that really hooked me in. The epic leap Walter does from the railway station platform into the building window moments before the apartment explodes in a ball of fire, racing several levels down to the door, revealing Walter's exit, having saved the life of a dog owned by a very pretty woman... and then back to reality, where Walter zones back in having missed his train.

If you're not a Ben Stiller fan then this is the Ben Stiller movie for you. If you are, you don't need me to say go and see it.

I totally bought into Ben as Walter Mitty, from the very beginning, where he's struggling with the idea of whether or not to send a wink on an internet dating site. For anyone who lives in their head, that kind of thing can be a big deal. It may be a slow start to the film but that really sets up how uneventful Walter's life has been to this point.

Walter's journey throughout the film seems a little bit contrived as he attempts to track down a missing photograph negative, needed for the cover of the last edition of Life Magazine. However it's easy to forgive that because it's just great to see Walter having all these experiences that highlight how exhilarating real life can be.

I really don't need to talk up this movie at all. All you need to know is in the trailer. It's got a great supporting cast and Adam Scott's beard should be up for a best supporting actor nomination (I've never seen a manicured beard that screams 'BEARD!!' at you before).

Worth seeing in the cinema for both the special effects and the cinematography on location. This is a grown up Ben Stiller film, with some silly and childish moments that are well within the context of the overall story.

I enjoyed it a lot.

TET Wishes You a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I'm writing this post on Christmas Eve, staying up late so I can see Santa deliver our presents. Thus far he's a no show but there's still plenty of time yet.

Whilst I'm waiting I thought I'd take the time to wish all my readers, followers and supporters of my work a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I know this year hasn't been particularly productive in generating new content for you. Also I still haven't gotten the Frog Van fixed entirely as promised last year (thanks again to those of you that donated money to at least get it back on the road) so I could blog more about traveling.

On the plus side my animation 4 business site has received a steady flow of work almost all year. Which means I'll be able to get the brake pads replaced on the van some time early in the new year I hope. Then I'll plan a series of travel vlogs/blogs featuring the van as my transportation.

I've also bought a whole bunch of animation software and hope to bring you more of my own animation, with my own artwork rather than all the pre-animated, drag'n'drop GoAnimations you've seen for the last few years.

I'll continue to write for this blog and my Animation and Video Blog. I also hope to revive at least one of my Youtube channels in 2014 with more regular programming.

I'll leave it at that for now as this is starting to sound like a bunch of New Years Resolutions. If I list everything I hope to do in 2014 you can bet I'll have done none of it by the end of the next year just because I said it as a resolution.

Santa is still not here. Perhaps it's still a little early? It's only 11:12pm. Not to worry, I'll be ready for him...


Machine Rising Update: Google Buys Skynet / NASA Unveils Not-Quite-Superhero Robot

Google Buys Skynet


Cylon Prototype as seen in Caprica.
Well okay, not Skynet, but the next closest thing that you know some tech-nerd-sci-fi-movie-fan future CEO is going to rename because 'Boston Dynamics' just doesn't fulfill the prophecy outlined in The Terminator series of documentaries sent to us from the future.

Google buys out Boston Dynamics the company responsible for developing some pretty sophisticated robots for the US military.  The world's biggest Search Engine/data company teamed with one of the world's most advanced experimental robot companies...

I just started watching the TV series Caprica - a prequel to the recent Battlestar Galactica series - and in that show the Cylons begin when an A.I. created from the accumulated data of big brother like search engine/database is placed in the mechanical body of what would evolve into the Cylons that become hell bent on destroying human kind...

Wait? Maybe James Cameron's Terminator movies got it wrong? Maybe we should be looking out for the creation of the first Cylon? The Earth's destiny could be in the hands of the Final Five.

Google's motto maybe 'Don't be Evil' but hopefully someone will inform the first Cylon before escorting it to the bean bag relaxation room of Googleplex.

NASA Unveils Not-Quite-Superhero Robot


Nicolaus Radford with 'Valkyrie'
NASA recently unveiled its new human like robot, 'Valkyrie', which they're talking up as a 'Superhero' robot. It certainly looks cool with its Iron Man like glowing chest disc.

Whilst I'm confident it can probably do all the things NASA claims, including driving a car by its-self, if you're going to call a robot a 'Superhero robot' you really need to create a more impressive demonstration video.

In the only demonstration video I've seen of Valkyrie (see below), it spends most of it standing motionless and most likely switched off (I reckon that chest light indicates stand by mode). When it does finally move, we see it slowly turning the steering wheel of a simulated car (I presume) and then stepping over a single piece of what looks to be a 4 by 2 length of wood more carefully than your eighty year old grandma with a Zimmer frame.

Not exactly 'Superhero' league is it?

Especially not compared to some of the robots created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA that can not only handle rough terrain but can also recover from being kicked off balance before they completely fall over.

I know NASA probably doesn't want to get it's shiny new robot dirty but how am I supposed to maintain the level of fearful concern for a machine uprising with a robot that's completely absorbed by stepping over something that isn't even as high as a curb?

Book: TET' Art Business Advice Blog Book

Buy my Book!
Some of my regular readers may know that I used to post regularly to a blog called TET's Art Business Advice. The blog began because, when I was painting and selling art on Ebay on a weekly basis, I used to get asked a lot of questions ranging from how to price your art through to how to sell on Ebay and more.

Some questions came up again and again so, when I gave a complete answer to that person, I would then edit my response to a more general audience and post it in my Art Business Advice Blog. That way I could refer people to posts where I'd already answered their question before, and people looking for information online could access my experience as an actual artist selling online.

In July of 2012 I made my final post to that blog, explaining that I'd moved on from selling my art online and feeling that I was speaking less and less from current experience. I now earn far more from freelancing in business animation than I ever did selling my paintings.

Don't get me wrong though, for a while there my painting sales were the most profitable part of my freelancing business over everything else I was doing including web design (I hadn't re-discovered animation at that point).

I've since deleted my Art Business Advice Blog, having not posted anything to it in over a year, however before I did that, I compiled the best articles into a book.

Some of the articles will date, particularly some of the links and references to websites but the majority of it will hold true as worthwhile information to know if you're planning to sell your own art online.

Although much of what I've learnt you can find from other sources the book differs in that you get my own personal experience of each issue. I'm not some academic, professional art dealer or gallery owner. I'm a real, largely unknown artist, who has successfully and consistently sold art online for a two year period... no gallery representation, just me selling my art.

The book answers that age old question all new artists face - How do I price my Art? It does this by showing you a number of options and even includes a section just for digital artists.

Other subjects include, how to promote your art, finding a market, creating a regular income with 'bread and butter' art, ways to sell your art online, photographing your art and more.

There's also an entire series of articles outlining my personal experience with selling art on Ebay including a 'what not to do' case study of Ebay artist Marina Orlova - better known as YouTube celebrity, HotForWords - and why she can get away with doing all the things you shouldn't.

Ultimately, the book reveals my business model and everything I've tried, to sell my art online. If it's in there I've probably tried it and you can get my personal opinion of the experience.

The book is available as a 107 page, full color, soft cover edition. The cost of this version is unfortunately quite expensive (but the quality is great) so I've also made it available at a great price as a downloadable PDF book.

For a preview of some of the content head over to the book section of this site.

Man of Steel 2 - Justice League Origin Story?

Gal Gadot
With the recent announcement that Gal Godot will be Wonder Woman in Superman's follow up film and rumors that everyone from Dick Grayson to the Flash may also make appearances alongside the confirmed Ben Affleck Batman, I'm calling it... Man of Steel 2 will be a Justice League Origin story.

It has to be doesn't it? If you've got the three key members of the Justice League in your film and you're flat out saying Gal Gadot WILL be Wonder Woman, rather than saying she isn't for a secret reveal plot twist in the film, then, by the end of this movie we have to be seeing the beginnings of the Justice League?

That said, I don't know anything about the script other than Superman's in the movie and an older, more experienced and battle weary Batman will show up at some point. There's a football match. There may be a fight between Bats and Supes and, I'm guessing, Wonder Woman may be the peacemaker... so Batman and Superman can maintain a healthy dislike but mutual respect for each other.

I'm not going into detail with what I think the story will be beyond what I've said. I've had people write whole essays in my comments on what they think the plot to an upcoming film will be only to be totally wrong. I don't want to be like that. I'm just throwing the idea out there. Man of Steel 2 is most likely a Justice League origin story (call it a 'World's Finest' origin if you like).

Having written my thoughts on why Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie and my thoughts on Ben's casting as Batman, here are my thoughts on Gal being cast as Wonder Woman...

Meh... and I mean that as positively as I can.

Honestly, I've never seen her act in anything. Her most high profile work seems to be the Fast and the Furious Franchise, none of which I've seen beyond trailers.

She looks the part and her real life background in the Israeli Military will no doubt be an asset to the role. Some people say she's too skinny but it's really not about that. It's all about whether she can project confidence and an attitude that says 'I'm very approachable but don't mess with me.'

From the few clips of Gal in Fast and the Furious trailers I've seen she seems like she'll have the 'don't mess with me' part down. Whether she can do 'classy and approachable' as well will be the challenge.

I have no preference for any of the names put forward for the Wonder Woman role so I'm not disappointed by Gal's casting.

Perhaps the only observation that's keeping me interested in Man of Steel 2 at the moment is that the general mood by fans following the film's development is one of increasing doubt that they're not watching a train wreck happening before their eyes in slow motion.

I'm still optimistic though. Almost everyone had their doubts about Marvel's strategy for building to an Avengers movie. I remember when the idea of a Thor solo movie sounded like the most ridiculous idea ever to a lot of people - even I had my doubts on that one - yet Thor's doing better than both Hulk solo films which you would think would have been box office gold.

Maybe WB, DC and Zack Snyder have a different strategy that will equally pay off in the end?

People have been shouting out for WB to 'just do a Wonder Woman film already!' after so many years of false starts and fumbling around.

Now you've got a movie with a fairly successful Superman, the new Batman and Wonder Woman in it... tell me, if you're a fan of Superhero movies, that you're not at least interested in going to see it.

I'll be seeing it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails