Pi Patel, the 16-year old son of a zookeeper, survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor- a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Pi Patel, the 16-year old son of a zookeeper, survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor- a fearsome Bengal tiger. less
“An adventure fable which is emotionally rewarding and a visually astounding 3D experience. Life of Pi is a must watch!”
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With Life of Pi the book by Yann Martel, director Ang Lee was stuck with a story that is for most part about a teenaged boy alone on a boat with a tiger in the middle of the pacific ocean and a subject material that had immense allegroical allusions to religion and God- in short, a book that was unfilmable. With the movie however, Lee has managed to create a visual poetry the subtly packs a huge punch.
Pi is crossing the pacific with his parents and the animals of the zoo his family owned in Pondichery, when a storm sinks the Japenese liner he was in and leaves him with a zebra, hyena an orangutang and a royal bengal tiger in a life boat in the middle of nowhere. Soon enough, it is just the tiger and him for a good 227 days till they manage to reach the shores of Mexico. The film is the incredulous story of the boys survival through days of unimaginable suffering.
Martel's book is a convulated and layered narrative that borders on magic realism and fuses it with the metaphysical concepts of faith and a higher power guiding lifeon earth. The story is interspread with beautiful descriptions of wildlife and oceanic beauty that Lee and team manage to brilliantly recreate on screen.
In what is perhaps the best use of 3D technology in cinema's history- at times better than Avatar- Life of Pi uses scenic beauty and picture perfect imagery to create a sense of depth and space. Unlike Avatar that opted for in-your-face 3D imagery, Lee uses vivid colors, smooth seamless cuts and long shots to create a haunting visual melody. The standard 3D thrills like the ocean storms or the tiger leaping on to the face from the screen notwithstanding, the technology is a subtle companion throughout. The screen comes alive when the bioluminiscent ocean takes over and all you can do is let your jaw drop at the brilliance on display.
There are portions in the film that one wishes could just be framed for eternity, the sky reflected in the still oceans surface with Pi and his boat on it, or the magnificent carnivorous island where Pi takes a brief detour, Lee recreates the books magic realism with a conviction that is rarely seen on screen.
The middle part of the story works as a humorous take on survival on the sea and taming of the beast, as Pi manages to co exist with a hungry tiger in the middle of nowhere. A taut introduction to the story in the frist half hour mercifully ends to plunge you to a plane where immersion into the surreal is complete without loosing track of the story ,only to know in the end that all of it was in fact just that, a story.
For all its brilliance, Life of Pi is not flawless- the sense of grotesque survival and the urgency of hanging on to life that the book beautifully conveyed is missing in Lee's narrative that is more in awe of the beauty anf majesty of nature and its creations. The main theme of faith and belief that the film espouses repeats itself more than one would want to and can get a little tiring at one point. For all the storms in the movie, the story flows like a gentle calm stream , making even the severest of oceanic storms look melodious making one wish for a little more gritty tension in the narrative. '
Yet, Life of Pi is a marvellous attempt at story telling that is not just a film but an experience in itself. It tells a tale of survival and instinct with a profound spirituality that is bound to touch the soul. Watch this one in 3D, you have never watched anything like this before.