Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life of Pi (3D)

Plot: Pi (Suraj Sharma) is an adolescent boy travelling with his parents and their zoo animals aboard a freighter from India to Canada. The freighter sinks and Pi ends up on lifeboat with a few animals, notably a Bengal Tiger. The story is told in flashback by the adult Pi (Irrfan Khan.) At the very end the adult Pi gives the story a twist and then another. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Life of Pi is parable with symbolism on a million levels, and director Ang Lee patently draws out a lot of them before the shipwreck. During the adrift-at-sea middle of the picture, there is gruesome carnage that I found really very unpleasant -- I thought about leaving the theater. The animal violence bothered me more than any crime drama or movie.

The tiger is CGI, and it is perfect. I real cat would not have been as good. There are some very pretty fantasy sequences including a glow-in-the-dark whale, and an island with a zillion very cute CGI meerkats. 

Actor Suraj Sharma does a great job in showing fear, bravery or desperation. He was a strong actor. 

When the movie is done, you think about everything that happens, and all the allegories. For example, the tiger's original name was "Thirst." Thirst might drive survivors to do crazy things, and the tiger is some part of Pi.

Director Lee concludes with a line about choosing what to believe about God based on what story you like the best. That reminds me of Don Cuppitt, the controversial British theologian.

Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan

Directed by: Ang Lee, based on the book by Yann Martel

Rating: 3.0 stars because of its ambition, and the ultimate pay off as a parable. It was still quite unpleasant, and I would not recommend it to everyone for that reason. 

More: Like The Master, the movie is not fun-to-watch, and it is  way more fun to talk about later. 

Even More:  One reviewer, Moses Ma, said "just as pi is a mathematical construct that can never be fully comprehended, The Life of Pi is essentially unfathomable… as is the battle between religion, science and spirituality." The following link has another good blog post on the symbolism.