Life of Pi is a pretty good movie. It’s not a masterpiece. All I’ve heard about it is constant praise hyping it up like it was the best thing to happen to movies this decade. Don’t get me wrong, I recommend seeing it, but don’t come in expecting a five star film.
An Indian teenage boy nicknamed Pi grew up in India with his family, who owned a zoo. After deciding to start a new life in Canada, the family travel on a ship with the animals on board. When disaster strikes the vessel, Pi and a tiger named Richard Parker are the only survivors, left stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. The story is told by an older Pi, to a writer that came to visit his home hoping that his life experiences would make a good book.
It most likely did, as the novel of the same name this film is based on has been approved by Obama. It made a good a movie too. Life of Pi is tragic, but I think its most important theme is faith, as in both hope and religion. Pi’s ordeal on the lifeboat and his entire life in India beforehand feel like a spiritual journey where he learns about himself, and God.
Director Ang Lee tried to get an unknown cast for this film, and I think it works. Having a top billed actor would take away from Pi’s story and put more focus on the star himself. Suraj Sharma was chosen as the lead, playing his first major acting role very well. All the other cast are believable, even the others who play Pi at different ages. The animals were amazing, and it was great to see Pi’s relationship with Richard Parker develop.
One of my favourite things about this film is how it looks, visually. The opening sequence with the zoo animals is long, but great. The filmmakers used the ocean and the sky to great effect, which creates a sense of wonder and awe. As for the 3D, it’s not as groundbreaking as I’ve heard, but it’s definitely put to good use. If you watch it in 2D, I wouldn’t call it a missed opportunity, but do check it out in 3D if you can.
I must admit I was disappointed Coldplay’s “Paradise” wasn’t included in the actual film. The epic trailer led to all of us calling Life of Pi ‘That Movie with “Paradise” In It’. This is such a silly thing for me to complain about, but that trailer was pretty damn awesome.
I get the sense that Life of Pi is missing that certain something to turn it from greatness to excellence, although that may have been because of all the hype. Life of Pi is definitely worth your time however, because it is a very well made film. In fact, while it may not be the best film released in 2012, it probably is the one that most deserves to be seen.