The scene in the new movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" that I loved so much is where a black and white photograph of an brazen adventurer ( Sean Penn) beckons the desk-bound introvert Walter ( Ben Stiller) to join him.
The image, pinned to corkboard, is so infused with a landscape of danger that you can practically hear the jungle drums beating, and the choppers overhead. In one hand The Adventurer holds a Leica camera, (first choice of those willing to put their safety and comfort on the line to bring back images from the edge), and with the other , almost imperceptibly, he gestures for Walter, and the rest of us, to join him.
In the scant seconds that you have known him, you know well enough what Walter needs to do, and when he heeds your encouragement and nods his head that yes, he’s game, all hell breaks loose.
This scene, the film, and the 1939 short story by James Thurber that inspired it might be asking you and me a question: Can you ignore this invitation to leave the comfort of your couch, your home, your lifestyle, and join the Adventurer?, Will you, like Walter does in stunned amazement at the choice he is making, nod almost as imperceptibly as the original beckoning gesture, say “Yes to Adventure”?
I think the reason this scene affected me so much is that it represents what I had hoped to achieve since I first started saying that my passion is to share the excitement of scientific exploration. With my voyages, stories, and blog posts, I have hoped to encourage people in the simple act of saying yes to adventure. This beautiful film created by Ben Stiller appears to have captured that spirit perfectly. I just needed Sean Penns smoldering gaze to pull it off.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens on Christmas day.