Life of Pie - Visually sumptuous
Based on the novel by Yann Martel having the same name.
To call "Life of Pi" a visually stunning film, would be stating the obvious, but the film weaves a series of breathtaking visuals and takes it up a notch after every frame. I haven't seen this kind of effort into making a film, so technologically advanced, for a really long time. It sets the context of keeping us in awe for its entire length, and from the beginning, you realize it is a different film. It reinforces the belief of prayer in ones life, teaches lessons on endurance, and moreover depicts the highest survival instincts of the main character in the film.
The story starts with setting the context of who "Pi" or Piscine Molitor, really is and the history behind his weird name. The prelude before the actual action is stretched a little too much. The story really is about the journey Pi and Richard Parker (his tiger) embark upon, being the only survivors of a Japanese freighters shipwreck, en route Canada, and get stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This film is also about Pi's endurance, his relationship with the tiger, his religious dilemmas and above all his faith.
Lee certainly knows how to grab our attention, and there are a lot of visually seductive moments like the floating island, the entry of the tiger, the look on the tigers face when he wants Pi to save his life, or simply the beginning credits of the film. What doesnt work for Lee and the one that is an all-too-common complaint with big budget cinema in the last decade: the 3D. Lee is passionate about using the 3D process and cites groundbreaking cinema like Avatar 3D as an inspiration. But there are too many cheap 3D effects in Life of Pi. Sticks that wave at the camera, the tiger leaping at the viewer, not just trite cliches that beg the viewer to admire the effect but effects that also break the narrative spell, bringing viewers out of the story and back to the technical mastery of the filmmakers. What's worse is that none of them are critical to the narrative, they're just a distraction and seem contrived.
The narration by Irrfan Khan is very jarring, and his diction and dialogue delivery leave a lot to be desired. Tabu has precious little to offer. The real stars of the film are Suraj Sharma as Pi, and The tiger as Richard Parker, who is as magnificent as a hollywood hunk.
The ending is different from what it is in the book, and if you have read the book, the movie might be a little more disappointing. Thankfully I didn't, and to be true, I watched it for its technical genius.
I would suggest "Life of Pi" deserves your attention, simply because, it is a wonder to behold and has a strong message at the end albeit with a weak screenplay, and a slow narrative.
Watch it and get mesmerized!!!