‘Life of Pi’ is one of those stories that takes us on an amazing adventure with its tale full of fantasy and spirit. The movie is based on Spanish born novelist Yann Martel’s book, with a shaky start it became a best-seller, has wan a number of literary awards and was adapted to the big screen by director Ang Lee who’s done a bunch of diverse and memorable films such as ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Hulk’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’. With this one the director uses all of his previous background to produce a film that’s mainly all heart, full of beautiful images and a surreal story.
A young Indian boy, nicknamed Pi (Suraj Sharma) survives a shipwreck and is left with a Bengal tiger as a companion. This isn’t only a story about survival, but also self-discovery and adventure.
The story’s main drive is spirituality because Pi is a curious boy who grows up to be just as curious about everything and he finds some comfort in God, no matter which religion or form it comes to him. This might strike a cord with many believers and might be a bit annoying to non-believers, but no matter how you see it this is an extraordinary story and there’s an interesting take when speaking about the different religions. The movie has a steady pace, it does get stretched out and slowed in the middle, but it’s bearable because of the added hallucinations or florescent images we see.
I saw the film in 3D, it did have images that popped out and the colors are majestic, but I don’t deem it necessary although it’s definitely an added bonus. There are countless breathtaking shots of the ocean whether it is of its computerized creatures, freak storms or of Pi’s suffering. I’m assuming the tiger used for the film is CGI, but it looked so real that you can easily feel scared for the main character every time he’s in the tiger’s presence. Being that some of the film takes part in India, it’s interesting to see how westernized Pi’s family is because that’s not something many of us would think when we think of India and its culture. There’s a brief explanation about the India, Hinduism and its culture and Pi’s life there, which gives us a good picture of it all. The colors we think about when we think of India are all there shining brighter than ever, hypnotizing the audience in more than one scene.
19-year-old Indian actor, Suraj Sharma is amazing, he only breaks character once, but for the majority of the film he’s able to convey the struggle this boy is in not only physically but also mentally. So much so that there’s sometimes comedy in his suffering and his reflections easily can make you shed a tear. Peter Parker aka the tiger is obviously important to the story, because without him the film wouldn’t be the same; he gives a necessary dose of danger and the interesting connection between the two. Irrfan Khan who plays older Pi, narrating the story is also key because he gives us much more than a narration; he provides extra emotion to connect the public to the film.
There’s a lot of fantasy in this film and it poses a question that might make some think afterward. Every scene has stunning images that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. This can be a family film for older kids who will surely enjoy the story as well as the adults of course. The plot’s push for spiritualism or God is frustrating at points, but knowing the background of it and the connection the audience gets with Pi can help you oversee that. This is certainly a very unique film, with an exceptional story that might make you shed a tear or two but will also make you smile.