Life of Pi (2012)

life-of-pi-poster
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great visuals, strong acting and story

Doesn't quite live up to the book

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Life of Pi

Studio:  Rhythm & Hues

Genre(s):  Drama/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  November 21, 2012

MPAA Rating:  PG

 

life-of-pi-pi-and-richard-parker

The all inclusive cruise said nothing about this

A writer (Rafe Spall) is searching for his next big story and is told to speak to an India native living in French Canada named Piscine Molitor (Irrfan Khan). Pi tells how he came to get his name and his amazing voyage from India to the Americas. When his family’s ship sinks, Pi (Suraj Sharma) finds himself trapped on a life raft with a hyena, an injured zebra, an orangutan, and a man-eating tiger named Richard Parker. Pi’s fight for survival and the amazing journey seems unbelievable…but Pi can make you a believer.

Directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi adapts the award winning 2001 novel by Yann Martel. The movie had a lot of attempts to bring it to the screen with M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuaron, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet all attached to direct at one point, and many saiding it was unfilmable. The film was shot in 3-D and received positive reviews upon its release.  The movie won Academy Awards for Best Director (Argo won Best Film, and Ben Affleck was not nominated), Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography with nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song “Pi’s Lullaby”, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing.

life-of-pi-jellyfish

I wonder if I can eat those

I have to say, I was a huge fan of the novel Life of Pi and when I initially heard that it was going to be a film, I was excited and worried. The story is so different that you’d have a hard time making it appealing to people due to absurdity without revealing the twist.

Ang Lee is really good with visuals and this film is very visual. I don’t like 3-D, but I almost wish I had seen this film in 3-D. The effects and style of the story being told are enhanced by the 3-D images in a way that Avatar and Hugo also benefited from the 3-D storytelling. The calm ocean becomes the sky and the water scenes are perfect for 3-D.

Pi is also strong in all incantations of his character. As a child, Gautam Belur and Ayush Tandon have an innocence as Pi and his struggle with his unusual name. The teenage Pi played by Suraj Sharma has the most acting time with all the adventure on sea. He is the only one providing dialogue and action and to hold the movie he had to be strong. The older Pi who is telling the story also is a good cast.  Infan Khan does a nice job channelling the younger characters and what happened to him in his past.

life-of-pi-richard-parker

This is less than average

*****Spoiler Alert***** Life of Pi is a novel and movie with a twist that helps explain the extreme visuals and story. At the end of the film, Pi is forced to give another story of his survival in which he becomes Richard Parker to survive when he, his mother, a Chinese passenger, and the cook are trapped upon the raft. Pi survives through the murder and horror but it is decided by all that the fantasy of survival with a tiger is a better story because despite the fact it isn’t real, the horror is far worse.  Even with the fantasy story, questions about the carnivorous island aren’t really answered leaving that aspect of Pi’s story a mystery.

Life of Pi is a great looking, smartly acted film, but not for everyone. The story might be too extreme for some and others might find it hard to swallow if they know the real ending to the film. The movie is about what you believe and what you can believe, and I believe that despite not living up to the book, Ang Lee made a winner.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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