Walter Mitty Shows the Secret of Icelandic Energy

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY 2013, Twentieth Century Fox

2013, Twentieth Century Fox

I recently watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), which is a fun movie based on the 1939 short story with the same name by James Thurber and a remake of a 1947 movie starring Danny Kaye.

While traipsing around the globe in various phases of daydreaming and real-life adventure, the title character (played by Ben Stiller) rides a bicycle in Iceland past transmission lines and a large diameter pipe. The pipe is carrying geothermal energy in the form of steam from underground to where it will be consumed as a heat source or converted to electricity.

These items in the background are notable for a few reasons.

First, non-hydroelectric renewable energy rarely makes its presence known in movies (though iconic images like wind turbines seem to be showing up more frequently). Geothermal energy is particularly rare in movies, so I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed it.

Second, the location of geothermal energy in the background while filming in Iceland makes sense, as the island nation is the world leader in geothermal energy.

Third, on a more personal note, one of my graduate students Brynjolfur Olafsson is from Iceland and created a YouTube video about why Icelanders consume so much energy (watch it here).

Hollywood gets one right again.

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