Life of Pi,2012,USA/China
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan & Rafe Spall
Film #95 of the December Project
A few months back we studied Yann Martel's 'Life of Pi' for a literature class, Although I read the book very vaguely I was able to get the gist of it and pass the class, anyway enough about my personal accomplishments the reason I brought that up was that It inspired a slight interest of myself seeing Ang Lee's film adaptation, but at that time my personal film repellent Tobey Maguire was cast as the writer, and my interest was pretty much dashed. Fortunately he was recasted and all was right with the world.
A Writer is advised to meet with a man named Pi Patel, with the promise that Pi's will make him believe in god. The Writer is understandably unaware of how life changing Pi's story is, which sees him survive a tragic ship wreck only to stranded on the ocean with one other survivor, a Bengal Tiger.
To be perfectly clear this film will not be released in Australia until January the 1st, so I had to resort to seeing a stream of the film online, Yes I did not get to experience the 3D spectacle aspect to this film, but shouldn't all great films be able shine through any viewing predicament ? 'Life of Pi' did for me.
This film has received unanimous acclaim amongst critics and audiences and has labeled as one of the best films of 2012, and after watching the film its easy to see why. Its a very likeable and poetic journey through one young mans determination and will to survive in the face of incredible adversary. It is a spectacle of a film, with stunning visuals that are on par with anything released in the last 10 years.
Ang Lee is a very talented filmmaker and he has proven it once again with this film, its so very broad and ambitious that its hard not to appreciate the bold approach Lee is taking. This film reminded of '127 Hours' in a lot of ways, both Lee and Danny Boyle are filmmakers who can inspire hope in even the most horrifyingly situations. Lee was the perfect visionary to create this film and he deserves the acclaim he is receiving, and to think M. Night Shyamalan was originally going to direct this, I'm sure he would have included a twist in which Pi was actually a Pie.
My biggest criticism of the film is its religious aspect, Yes I know why it is there and I am fully aware of its importance to the plot but I really wish it would have been toned down a significant amount.
David Magee's screenplay seems to feature at least a little bit of religious subtext in every single scene and it just irritated me instead of enlighten me. This also seems like a film which believes it change your opinions on god, but after viewing, My Atheism is completely unhinged. I would usually continue to ramble on the films religious aspect, but I enjoyed 'Life of Pi' so much that It didn't completely derail my appreciation of the film, but it may have altered it.
The 'companionship' between Pi and Richard Parker the tiger is pulled of to complete perfection in this film, Pi becomes fully invested in the caring for Richard Parker and that gives him purpose which is one of the reasons he is able to survive for so long. The CGI tiger is brilliant and its hard not to be in awe of his presence throughout the film. In fact, all the animals represented in the film are great, I especially loved Orange Juice the Orangutang.
The performances throughout are fantastic, Suraj Sharma does an incredible job as the younger Pi whom is stranded on the boat, his performance is incredibly brave, sympathetic and immensely supportive. Irrfan Khan is also great as the adult Pi, and I really liked Rafe Spall aswell, I'm sure he is much better than what Toby Maguire would have been.
'Life of Pi' is a beautifully executed spectacle of a film, The visuals are mind blowing and its heart is firmly in the right place. Although I have a few complaints about the film, I still think Ang Lee has done an incredible job and created a film that is rightfully deserving of its praise.