Plane Overhead

A man working at Life Magazine, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller, also directing the film), leads what he’s finding to be a drab existence. He’s not very confident and his mind wanders into fantasy every so often. As an upheaval begins to take place at the office, head man Hendricks (Adam Scott) picks on him for absent-mindedness. That same pushy character hassles him over a particular photo negative. But where is it and where is the photographer? Time is of the essence as this mystery begins to take shape.

Mitty isn’t a well-traveled person, which is part of why his blank online dating profile runs into a problem. His co-worker and romantic interest, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig), helped with narrowing down where to find the ever-on-the-go photographer, Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). Yet his apprehension shows as it turns out that he may have to go much farther than the first possible address. Soon, he realizes what he has to do. It’s his chance for an adventure.

Even though Mitty’s travels were driven by a workplace need, it’s the aspect of new experiences that makes this an inspiring movie. I’ve always wanted to do a lot of traveling, both through the U.S. and internationally. Yet I felt a mix of nervousness with excitement when it became official that my first chance to go abroad would soon happen. I hadn’t flown anywhere before that trip and it seemed that Mitty hadn’t done so either.

I also loved the visual aspect of the Life Magazine motto being displayed as Mitty embarks on his journey. The plane takes off and the inspirational words are revealed along the tarmac. Watching this sequence, I feel like booking my next flight to another place still to be checked off of my must-see list. Greenland and Iceland, where Mitty found himself in, are both on that list for the stunning natural scenes to behold.

One of my favorite moments of such spectacular landscape show Mitty skateboarding his way to a nearby Icelandic town. Not everybody could so skillfully do this as a means of transportation. It adds a sense of adventure, a mindset in Mitty to go with the flow in as he doesn’t have more traditional ways of getting around. The music playing has a beat that perfectly matches an explorer personality coming through in Life Magazine’s intrepid employee.

I found it interesting that the hard-to-track photographer at some point crossed paths with Mitty’s mother (Shirley MacLaine). That discovery leads into continued travel into more dangerous territory in order to find the missing negative.

The story wraps up nicely in how Mitty’s life is affected by new travel experiences, as well as in his original task’s outcome. He is a different person with great possibilities in his future.