In 2006, I read an outstanding novel called Life Of Pi. Although many of the story's details and nuances faded from my memory over the years, I never forgot the book's central premise: a boy finds himself trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger after a vicious shipwreck. In the back of my mind, I've always wondered if the book could ever be brought to the big screen in a successful manner, and if Hollywood would ever attempt such a gargantuan task. Well done Ang Lee, you've accomplished the impossible.
The first thing that springs to my mind is just how darn gorgeous the film looks. It's a crowning achievement in utterly perfect CGI and technical prowess. Not once throughout the film did I question Richard Parker (for the uninitiated that would be the infamous tiger) and the computer generated effects utilized to bring him to life. Moreover, the use of 3D only enhances the experience (the first time I wasn't annoyed by those darn glasses) and adds to the immersive experience. The cinematography is just plain stunning and utterly befitting of a story of this magnitude and scope. There's a reason Life of Pi has been nominated for so many Oscars this year and it deserves the acclaim wholeheartedly.
For the majority of its running time, the film rests on Suraj Sharma's shoulders and he does an impeccable job as the willful Pi. The boy capably exudes the spectrum of emotions Pi undergoes while trapped on the boat while effectively acting against himself (the tiger is CGI after all). It's an impressive feat as the film would have collapsed with a lesser talent.
The film's ending (which I will not spoil here) is incredible. It does a spectacular job of making you question not only the film's premise, but your own beliefs concerning religion and doubt. There are few endings that are this impactful and this is one resolution that deserves to be experienced and debated.
- A first-rate and thought-provoking adaptation that's marvelously directed and beautifully executed. Highly recommended.
4.5 out of 5 tigers on a boat.