LIFE OF PI – Ang Lee is the genius behind Brokeback Mountain, a cinematic milestone that bravely tackled the a very sensitive topic. Completely opposite from that film, Lee came back and conquered Hollywood once again with his epic tale of survival, Life of Pi. Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells a magical story centering on Pi Patel, the 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 in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger whom he referred to as Richard Parker, all fighting for their lives.
What an incredible situation to be in! I mean, seriously, it’s an adventure of a lifetime!
This film is like Tom Hanks’ Cast Away but has more production value in it. The visuals and cinematography are amazing and these are the areas that certainly made this masterpiece stood out amongst its contemporaries. The clever use of digital arts and computer graphics gave the rather long/extended/boring plot some magic and excitement. The tiger is amazing!!! It captured everyone’s attention and at some point, it felt like it was the main character of the film. Its inclusion in the movie was certainly the best idea as it managed to lift the whole picture from being a tedious narrative to watch. Suraj Sharma’s performance was incredible too – he definitely gave justice to the role though I still think Dev Patel would have been a wiser choice. Rafe Spall was good too – his reactions to the whole storytelling scenes were brilliant giving it a very realistic finish.
It is not the best of Ang Lee but still it is a movie he can absolutely be so proud of. The visuals alone are spectacular and it gave the film some life into it. The movie version is quite disappointing compared to the actual novel so I suggest stick to one medium if you’re planning to look at both in order to avoid comparisons/questions, etc. Having said that, it is still a strong contender for 2012’s Oscars Best Picture award.
The film’s greatest asset though is the values it imparts to the audience. It’s about fighting, surviving and winning in the end – winning in a sense that you were able to survive whatever battle you went on. It gives us hope and it opens our eyes to certain realities of life that are often unseen and unconquered.