Life of Pi Reviews
At the heart of it, "Life of Pi" is a drama/survival flick. With a movie so grounded thematically, people quickly assume that this is an art-house film. I respond with a resounding no. "Life of Pi" is crafted with such cohesion; everything to the plot, actors, script, and cinematography mesh together to bring an entertaining but thoughtful piece of art. Let me tell you, the visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I still think best cinematography should've went to "Skyfall", but that doesn't make "Life of Pi" an ugly one though; the art direction and the colors truly pop off the screen here.
"Life of Pi" is, in my opinion, what should've taken the cake for best picture. Yeah, I enjoyed "Django Unchained" and "Skyfall" more, but as a whole, "Life of Pi" covers all the bases of what makes a real solid film.
The story is told in part by narration from the main character, who is an adult. He is telling a writer about his fantastical story, about his early years in India and his families decision to immigrate to Canada. After a slow build up revolving around his family, his keen interest in various religions, the way he acquired his name and the family owned zoo, we start to get to the crux of the film.
Whilst on board the freighter bound for Canada, a storm hits and sinks the ship apparently killing everyone. 'Pi' survives on a lifeboat with a tiger, zebra, hyena and orangutan, this is where the real story begins.
Up to this point I'll be totally honest with you all and say the film isn't overly interesting. A slow character building plot showing you Indian family life and how religious minded the young 'Pi' is. Don't let that scare you though, the film is not in the least bit preachy about religion, its a very light view really, 'Pi's' parents are surprisingly easy on him whilst he switches from one to another trying to find his feet. You do kinda expect his father to go ape shit with him but that doesn't happen, that's not what this is about.
Of course the CGI in this film is pretty much the main focus, its not what the film is about but it takes centre stage. So how can I put this for you? the film looks like a crystal clear watercolour painting with 'Dali-esque' sequences of beauty that will inspire you, hows that?. Yes the CGI does look a tad obvious from time to time for sure (the animals in the lifeboat) but in general you don't care. Its like a living painting, constantly changing, expressing the sublime miracle that is nature, almost teaching you as it goes, a virtual wildlife show in poetic motion. Lets not forget about those sparkling sunsets, stormy skies, nautical dusk's and twilight's.
The sequence at night whilst 'Pi' drifts on the ocean surface surrounded by hundreds of bioluminescent jellyfish is damn near stunning, then a mighty Humpback whale (I think) bursts through the waters surface saturating the screen in a glowing shower of turquoise liquid!...pure fantasy but none the less spectacular. To be frank I found it disappointing that these sequences were CGI, I wanted them to be real. As for the main animal 'character', 'Richard Parker' the Bengal tiger, he's fudging faultless! in fact I'm not even sure if they used a real tiger anywhere, did they??! I really couldn't tell.
The story isn't all about fancy effects though as I said, there is a lot more to it than that. The young boy surviving on his own aboard this lifeboat, there is a huge amount of faith naturally, hope, courage, fear, acceptance and understanding. He must learn to deal with his fate, not to blame God for his situation but let God enter his heart and give him the strength to survive. He can't rely on God or a God to bail him out, he can't worry about which religion is right, he must be true to himself.
He must also be cautious and firm with his big cat companion, learn to coexist together for the greater good, they need each other after all.
In the end various elements from the various religions help young 'Pi' on his perilous journey. The story does a great job of simply showing how similar these religions are, how one is not greater than the other, nor is one anymore correct than the other, there is no definitive way. Sounds heavy but it really isn't, the whole plot plays out like a child's bedtime fairytale, a fairytale with a good message.
This visual treat has so many layers its incredible, an Asian/Indian subcontinental core with a dash of Chiwan flavouring from its director. You can clearly see how the animals/mammals in the film are represented and beautifully expressed which is so important to both cultures, the tiger especially. Its so strange that this deep little tale comes from a French speaking Canadian!, it just seems so very close to the stories roots of India, or the far East/Indochina maybe.
Sure the ending is a bit depressing, we find out what really happened, the reality, but like the characters in the story you too can choose which tale you preferred. There is actually no right answer, the question is, does the tale make YOU believe in God?.
Whether you believe in things religious is besides the point here, as you can certainly be entertained and perhaps even brought into a sense of spirituality by this stunningly filmed story that weaves its spell of cosmic proportions around the story of a young man who must rely on himself and his wits in order to survive - his situation does not so much "bring out the best in him" as the bromide usually infers some form of "goodness", but in this instance it brings out the man, or more to the point, humanity that we should all embrace.
I found the performance of Suraj Sharma as Pi to be so filled with humanity - he is straight forward, self effacing and thoroughly human. It is with equal marvel that I watched Irfan Khan's performance as the older version of Pi. He is able to exude a certain calm and acceptance of life as he tells his story; you can simply tell that he is at peace with not only who HE is, but with the world around him.
I don't want to reveal the allegorical turns here, as it is best to discover them for yourself, but rest assured, you will be contemplating what this film has to say and how it says it long after the closing credits. A wonderful film that is well deserving of the 11 nominations for Oscar... this film touched me in glorious ways and I would recommend its viewing to anyone.
Amazing Film!!! It is more than a survival story and it is not about friendship. This story is about faith. Director Ang Lee use all the tools he have to make this movie about a solitary young man not a boring one. It is narrated by both, young Pi and the Adult Pi, it uses music all the time so there is not space for uncomfortable silents and the rhythm of the scenes is fast. The film begs interpretation from the multiplicity of religions to the place of mankind in a hostile, Darwinian world. Ultimately the benign brotherhood of beasts and humans is affirmed not so much by lofty philosophy but by the necessity of man and beast working together to survive. In the end, Lee is interested in the individual's place in the universe as he struggles to harness nature and yet live in harmony with these elements. The conflict with the gross cook aboard the Japanese cargo ship taking Pi's family and animals to Canada is emblematic of the challenges facing the gifted with the groundlings. Pi's relationship with tiger "Richard Parker" represents all mankind's struggle to live in harmony with the forces it cannot control. The Life of Pi is everyone's life; the film is one of the best of the year and, even remembering the greatness of The Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick, and Billy Budd, the best you will ever see about a boy, a tiger, and a boat. Highly recommended!!!
Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zoo keeper. Dwellers in Pondicherry, India, the family decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival.