A visual extravaganza from start to finish, Life of Pi is an enthralling journey of adventure, hope & triumph that is as rewarding an experience visually as it is emotionally. Under the assured direction of master filmmaker Ang Lee, and supported by an engrossing plot and some truly jaw-dropping moments of beauty & amazement, Life of Pi arrests its viewers with its captivating look on religion, faith & nature and is one of the best films of last year & certainly the most artistic.
Life of Pi tells the story of Piscine Patel aka Pi, who is left stranded on a lifeboat after a shipwreck as the only human survivor, accompanied by a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena & a fearsome Bengal tiger. The tale takes us through his epic journey of adventure, discovery & his ultimate will to survive, resulting in him forging an amazing connection with the only other survivor left on the boat, the Bengal tiger. It also covers Pi’s childhood, the story behind his unusual name which was hilarious, his struggle & fascination with different religions & their Gods, his first encounter with Richard Parker and in the end, the ambiguity of his story.
Ang Lee is one of world cinema’s renowned artists of the filmmaking canvas. Be it Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Brokeback Mountain, Lee has always captured the wonders of nature in an overwhelming manner but with this film, he takes the film’s photography to an even higher level of cinematic art. This is Lee’s first film in 3D and it was very pleasing to watch just how amazingly well he has embraced this technology right from the first frame. Life of Pi presents Ang Lee in total control of his artistic wizardry and throughout the runtime, manages to give us countless eye-popping moments & very impressive 3D effects in spite of putting a greater emphasis on telling a quality story in a simple & aesthetic manner.
Apart from the masterclass direction, the film is nicely written as well. The performances are quite satisfying overall. Irrfan Khan plays the adult Pi & is the narrator of the whole story. Suraj Sharma plays the Pi we see for the major part of the film & his performance was very vital to make this film work and he didn’t disappoint but amaze. Cinematography is, in a word, spellbinding… easily the best of its year & one of the finest you’ll see in today’s films. The camera angles used in the film provide a visually poetic touch to this film while also enriching its 3D experience, which was almost equivalent to James Cameron’s Avatar. Editing is very well carried out though there was a slight sluggish feel in the second half of the story. Also, the score by Mychael Danna synchronised beautifully with the ambience of the whole movie throughout its runtime.
And finally, the visual effects team has done a remarkable job in bringing Life of Pi on-screen. The best part, apart from creating a stunning aqua life and other flora & fauna in the movie, was the creativity that went into bringing the Bengal tiger to life. Highly realistic & detailed from fur to roar, the most thrilling part about the tiger was that the effects crew even managed to give a human soul to this entirely computer-generated creature. The moments between Pi & this tiger throughout the film is a core ingredient that makes this film work but in the end it was the tiger who turned out to be the show-stealer among the two.
Overall, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is your date with mother nature that you should not miss. The drama, wit, faith & adventure elements are wonderfully blended with a slice of artistic flair in this film. All there is, for the major part in this cinema, a human & an animal on a boat in the middle of an ocean and yet Life of Pi promises as well as delivers an astonishing & profoundly rich three-dimensional experience and is a wonderfully crafted tale of survival, belief & hope that in the end leaves its viewers with two choices. And whichever choice they choose to accept becomes a reflection of their very own beliefs.
Discover… A Life of Adventure. A Life of Hope. A Life of Triumph. A Life of Pi. Don’t miss it (in 3D).