Daydreamer Walter Mitty has never done anything exciting in his life. Until this one day when he is off to Iceland and lives the adventures he could have never imagined in his wildest dreams…
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is the kind of guy, who always played it safe. When the story opens, we learn that Mitty is a negative assets manager at a New York lifestyle magazine called “LIFE”. He has had this job for sixteen years. This means that he’s had a very stable, but quite boring life with no travels or adventure at all.
Maybe because of this monotonous lifestyle, Mitty occasionally drifts into colourful day dreams, in which he is a high-flying action hero with super powers. Walter secretly has a crush on his colleague Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), but is too shy to ask her out for a date.
At the same time, the LIFE Magazine is in the process of downsizing and currently preparing its last printed issue before it becomes an online only magazine. As Mitty has been working with acclaimed photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) for many years, O’Connell sends him a set of his latest negatives. O’Connell believes negative #25 captures the “quintessence” of LIFE and that it should be used for the cover of the magazine’s final print issue. However, this negative is missing.
As Mitty has no other option of contacting Sean, he travels to the photojournalist’s current location… Greenland. From there, his epic real-life adventure take Mitty to Iceland and further around the globe. It seems as if Walter Mitty has finally caught the travel bug and starts to live the life he always wanted to live…
Most of the filming locations for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty can be found in Iceland. His first stop from Greenland takes Mitty to Iceland, where O’Connell is photographing the volcano Eyjafjallajökull during an eruption.
But Iceland, the Northern gem with its world-famous, unique natural wonders, not only served as a background for Iceland itself, but also for Greenland, Afghanistan and the Himalayas. When Mitty first arrives at Nuuk Airport, Greenland, for example, he is actually in Höfn on the Southeast coast of Iceland.
Perhaps the most impressive scenes that showcase the unique beauty and tranquility of Iceland were those, in which Walter is riding on a longboard. These were filmed at Seyðisfjarðarvegur, Seydisfjordur, also on the Southeast coast of Iceland. At nearby Vatnajökull National Park, Ben Stiller pretended to be the Himalayas and Afghanistan.
Filming locations on the west coast of Iceland included Grundarfjörður (Port where Erkigsnek docks) and Stykkishólmur (“Greenland bar” and helicopter take off town).
Aside from Iceland, the film crew also went to actual Greenland (more precicely Kangerlussuaq on the west coast for an airport scene), British Columbia, Canada, Los Angeles, USA and the Time-Life Building in Manhattan, New York City, USA, which stood in as the offices of LIFE.
But the true star in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty actually wasn’t a person, it was a country! If this film doesn’t inspire you to go to Iceland, I don’t know what will…
The final verdict: Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and leave your comfort zone in order to find out what really makes you happy. Iceland seems to be the perfect place to rewind and refocus and I cannot wait until I see this natural beauty for myself when I go there in April this year.
*** 3 out of 5 stars