First, let me tell you what Life of Pi isn’t. It’s not a happy-go-lucky tale of a spry Indian boy traveling with his funny, furry companions at sea. Someone made the mistake of thinking this and bringing small children to the movie when I went to see it. Bad move, this movie scared the hell out of those poor kids as it’s more of a story about an Indian boy trapped on a boat with animals doing what’s in their instincts to do. And when you mix a zebra, a hyena, a orangutan and a tiger in a tight space, it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Ultimately, this story (adapted from the best selling novel by Yann Martel) is more a philosophical exploration reminiscent in tone of Candide by Voltaire. No matter how things get, it’s always a matter of choice in terms of how you react to them.
I’ll set the stage briefly as I’d recommend seeing this one and don’t want to give too much away… A writer visits a man who has story that will convince people in the existence of God. Heavy duty, yes? The story is set around a ship wreck, the boy’s tale as the only survivor and his journey back to civilization after days and days stuck at sea.
Visually, the film is stunning and great to behold on the big screen in 3D. It’s one of the few films out recently that was worth the extra money for the 3D. The flying fish, luminescent sea creatures and whale segments are breathtaking. The fluidity of the main character along with the tiger on the boat is nerve-racking at times with it’s authentic look and feel. The man-eating island is also amazing to see on the big screen; gotta love those meerkats.
I’m a big Ang Lee fan (The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), he’s got a great visual sensibility and doesn’t disappoint with his vision of the book.
If you can, see this one in the theater; just leave the kids at home, this one’s not really for them visually or conceptually.
reviewed by Sean McKnight