Calum's Review of Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)
Ang Lee, director of the truly fantastic and the dismally underwhelming, it seemed as though after his momentary downfall with 2003's Hulk that he would never return to the bright limelight of the blockbuster. It may have taken him nine years to do so but Ang Lee has returned to serve a dose of fantasy in the form of the beloved novel Life of pi, and whilst it may not be a blockbuster for the masses it is certainly a blockbuster none the less boasting high end CGI and a typical third dimension to match. Issues arise whilst analysing the narrative : a boy and a tiger (named Richard Parker) find hope in each other after the ship carrying them sank and there're left stranded on a stray life raft. It may not be the most relatable and linear of narratives present however that's where it's true triumph stands, Life of pi manages to bring intelligence to the mainstream blockbuster in a way which is subtle and undeniably beautiful.
From it's exterior it seems as though Life of pi is simply a convoluted fantasy tale, it's not until you begin to watch the film that you know it's going to be about so much more. Beginning at Pi's childhood we see his controlled upbringing and also his introduction to religion in particularly large doses. A familiar cinematic route is to take sides on a certain view on religion rarely braving to speak a unique mind, Life of pi however is very different doing just this with controlled understanding and intelligence showing zero tolerance to religious injustices. Pi grows older leaving the humor of the first half in it's rightful place, taking upon a more serious meaningful tone till the point where Pi becomes stranded and the film disembarks on a cinematic journey of wonder.
With a very large majorety of the film shot with CGI settings and characters, Life of pi did a fantastic job in riveting the audience to the story making the CGI become seamless and irrelevant. Unlike many blockbusters of a similar nature the CGI is used sparingly only to enhance the visual features and sustain disbelief. This creates for some truly momentous scenes of pure beauty creating a visual spectacle like no other, treating the senses to incredible settings and creatures that only look more fantastic in the third dimension. It's much deliberated but the 3-D in Life of pi is truly astounding and not to be missed, immersing the audience into the wildlife and surrounding scenery to the point where you felt transported to the world yourself. The connection made not only between audience and scenery but also audience and protagonist is astounding, we believe his every action and hope for his well-being. Never before have seemingly in-cohesive characters managed to create a narrative that is as compelling as it is sustainably intriguing .Every performance was fantastic with emotion forcefully driving each character and their subsequent actions, most notably the performance of young lead of Suraj Sharma was outstanding especially considering the fact that a lot of the acting was done against non-existent characters on blue screen.
With early critics stating that Life of Pi was 'unfilmable' the finished result simply goes to show that any book can be transcribed if enough thought and emotion is inserted into it. There is an overwhelming triumph surrounding Life of pi and it's responsible director Ang Lee, once again displaying that he is a truly influential film maker capable of anything. The extent to which this film connects to the hearts of the audience is touching and unprecedented in a year of soulless dramas. Life of pi is a cinematic epic that will be remembered for years to come, proving to be majestic without being pretentious.
10/10- Rich in meaningful messages which will remain with you for days prior. A true beauty.