Life of Pi
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The film opens similarly to the novel. The idea is the same, but the execution is slightly different. Different mediums require different storytelling tools. For instance, I believe most film-goers will readily recognize The Writer (portrayed by actor Rafe Spall, who replaced a distractingly famous Toby Maguire) as a stand-in for author Martel. In the novel, it is Martel himself, in direct address to readers, who fulfills this role, effectively blurring the line between fact and fiction. It is established that this story is being related to The Writer by an older Pi. From there, readers are introduced to a young Piscine Molitor Patel and the world he inhabits. It's a charmed childhood, being raised at the Pondicherry Zoo amongst a loving family and exotic animals--an Indian "We Bought a Zoo." These scenes are as lush and colorful as any Bollywood musical.
I've discussed this novel with other readers countless times over the years. It's beloved by many, but truly hated by a vocal minority. I've never understood the vitriol, personally. Martel writes beautifully and accessibly.Read more ›
Ang Lee isn't thought of as an Asian auteur in the class of Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou or Lee Chang-dong. He's actually more of a commercial director than a personal artist, but what he does in transferring the "Life of Pi" from novel to screen is miraculous. Perhaps no director has ever captured the beauty and fear of the power of life, and when you look deep into the eyes of the tiger "Richard Parker", you see what Marlowe saw in Kurtz's eyes in Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness": a power so vast it dwarfs you with an awareness of your mortality, showing you your insignificance beside the powers of all life. What Ang Lee does here in this film will, I believe, remain his tour-de-force, and is a work of art I will come to many times in the future.
The acting is wonderful, primarily Irrfan Khan, one of India's greatest actors who plays the adult Pi. Khan provides an entire acting course just in the way he uses his face, displaying a smile in the film's climax that rivals the Mona Lisa's in its ambiguity. You see the world of pain, guilt, joy and sadness in his delicate expression.
The film is supremely spiritual in every frame, yet, if one is paying attention, it winds up as somewhat of a Trojan Horse in what it ultimate reveals about religion. I'm trying hard not to provide a spoiler here, but there are five words spoken by the adult Pi at the end of the film that viewers seem to miss that spell it out.Read more ›
express it quite right ...
To begin, I saw Life of Pi in 3-D. A week later I went back and saw it again,
because I don't foresee having another chance. I expect the color and detail
will remain gorgeous in 2-D, and I definitely intend to buy the disc.
However the 3-D in this movie is spectacular. The tiger, Richard Parker, is
at the top of the list, but in fact the entire movie benefits tremendously
from 3-D. If you liked Avatar, you probably liked the marvelous animals.
And I'm sure in some scenes, Richard Parker is CGI'd to some extent. But
Life of Pi has a real earthly animal to work with, and you can argue there
is no animal on earth more beautiful or fierce than a tiger. That's part
of the genius of this movie, and I'm sure one reason James Cameron liked
it so much.
That brings me to another point about this movie, its suitability for kids.
Hopefully by now you understand the tiger is not a cuddly pet. Its very much
a wild animal, just like you can see in nature videos. Except in this movie
the tiger is a lot closer. He wants to eat Pi. Pi can't always see the tiger.
The audience knows the tiger is going to try something, but that just makes it
all the more nerve-wracking. Or exciting, depending on the person watching.
This movie made me jump several times, and I was often clutching the arms of
my chair. Its pretty intense in places. More so the second time I saw it.
I kid you not.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent movie. Hopeful. Bright. Intelligent. Fantastically conceived and directed. A joy to watch. And important. Do you believe in God? And why? Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very meaningful movie, if you've never read the book I highly recommend giving it a try. The story is inspirational and extremely moving.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer