Life of Pi tells the story of Pi Patel, son of a zoo keeper, who survives the sinking of a freighter and finds himself stranded at sea with a Zebra, Orangutan, Hyena and a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker.
That’s all you need to know in terms of plot before going into this film. The less you know about where the story goes, the more likely it is to surprise you as it did me and that’s one of the strongest things Life of Pi has going for it, A story which could take you anywhere and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next.
When leaving the cinema last night, truth be told I didn’t know what to make of Life of Pi. There’s so much going on in this film, filled with religious undertones and questions as to what separates man from beast, that I couldn’t help but wonder if I was missing out on something, despite giving the film my full attention.
I know I didn’t hate it, it’s far from being a terrible film, it’s just the type of film where each person will get a different experience from it and have different opinions as to what they think everything means. Life of Pi is successful in that sense as it certainly had me and my girlfriend debating our different views afterwards.
Visually there’s no denying that it’s a stunning film. The special effects for the animals are almost flawless and I really couldn’t tell the difference between the real tiger and the cgi one. The scenes on the pacific ocean, most of which are showcased in the trailer, are beautiful down to the subtle tones of the changing sky, to the electric colours of jellyfish and algae.
Even the stuff which isn’t computer generated, like the opening at the zoo is wonderful to look at and Ang Lee clearly had a lot of fun playing with the 3-d for this film. Personally I still prefer Scorsese’s use of the technology in Hugo, but regardless it is still worth paying the extra to go see Life of Pi in 3-d to fully appreciate the spectacle of the film.
Suraj Sharma who plays Pi stranded at sea gives an impressive performance, bouncing of a cgi tiger for the majority of the film. Towards the end he has a monologue which really showcases his talent and for me was one of the better parts of the film. The entire audience was silent and enthralled during this scene which is a credit to his acting.
Overall Life of Pi is a fine example of how stunning film can be. It surprisingly has a lot of humour through it and had me laugh on quite a few occasions. Further to this, it has a great story to tell and has so much imagination in it which so many films seem to lack these days.
For me a second viewing will most likely give me a better understanding of the film as a whole, which I imagine will be the feeling with most people who see it. It is an experience which will have some people questioning their own perspective on life and ideologies, whilst with others it will be go right over their heads. At this present moment I can’t help but feel that I’m in between.