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Movie: Life of Pi directed by Ang Lee

Life of Pi (2012) 
PG 127mins.

9/10 stars

Directed by Ang Lee

Release Date:

 21 November 2012 (USA)
Writers: Yann Martel (novel) & David Magee (Screenplay)
Starring: Suraj SharmaIrrfan KhanAdil Hussain | See full cast and crew
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Buy/Rent on Kindle | DVD | Blu-ray

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.

Official Trailer:


In all honesty, if you haven’t read the book by Yann Martel, or have not seen the movie directed by Ang Lee, then maybe you should hold off on viewing this review. It may contain spoilers.

I made sure I read the book before viewing the movie, and I must say that after I watching Life of Pi, I feel I understand the book even more, especially the ending.

Essentially at the end of the book, I was left a little confused and conflicted. Although I understood that the essence of the story was irrelevant; all that matters was that the ship sunk, everybody died, but Pi survived. The filler in between is based on pure faith. This is where the movie clarified it for me: Without doubt, there is no faith. That was my A-Ha moment. Clever Yann Martel made sure to input doubt in the story so as to question the audience’s faith and this alone is enough to make me love the movie. I recognize that the two stories Pi gave, one with the animals, and the one with the humans, are representative of the many religions that the human race have that uses different entities to tell basically, the same story. This story, both the novel and the movie have enlightened me greatly! Metaphorical as it is, it’s also a beautiful story of endurance and conviction.

Of course, when a book is adapted to screen, some things will change, but I was pleased to see a majority of the book still in place. There were even extra bits added, such as the Tiger Rescue, as I like to call it, which was to represent (in shorter time) the pity Pi felt towards the animal, in turn lifting his morale to find a solution that saves them both. Pi and Richard Parker (the tiger) are one. 

The sound effects were gorgeously rendered, and the soundtrack was quite fitting. The soundtrack, though subtle at times, is moving and sets a great somber tone to the story. This is the first time I have learned of, and appreciated, Mychael Danna’s efforts. Although I’ve probably heard his work somewhere before, this is the first I’ve heard of him. I’ll add him to my list of composers work to acquaint myself with. 

Cinematographically wise, Life of Pi was fantastic. Beautiful colors with great clarity taken at the most visually aesthetic angles. Smooth tones and attention to minute details really paid off as we experienced the harsh and stunning conditions that Pi had to endure. I found that bringing in the wide angle shots to simulate 3D effects was unexpected and exciting (such as the underwater/fish scenes.)

In all, I am greatly appreciative of this film and how it helped clarify the book a bit for me. I would enjoy nothing more than to watch the film again (maybe next time in 3D?) and to re-read the novel. This is a prime example of a great book-to-movie adaptation.

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