Life of Pi (2012)

Review contains spoilers! If there’s one film that can restore passion towards cinema, it’s Life of Pi.

Life of Pi is a miraculous achievement both in storytelling and visuals, gripping and awe–striking. At first, I found the acting of the animals dubious – they were moving too much like humans, but I stopped questioning it after one point because the story was so enthralling I had to focus on that completely. I really adore that they didn’t flash back into the present during the shipwreck and quite long after that – it made the story more believable and thrilling.

While Pi carries the story from the beginning to the end, with the three different periods of his life – childhood, youth and present time, I still rooted for the tiger. When Pi was trying to feed the tiger, all I could think was the same his father did – but there was this one moment where you could see how the tiger went for the meat in his hand instead of Pi himself, and from there on, this freaking scary Bengal tiger was the one I was rooting for. And it can’t be easy to create this kind of effect without having the animal stripped of its nature or making it talk. Richard Parker1 became a character on his own. Bravo, Ang Lee! Speaking of great things in the film, the carnivorous island was an amazing twist, too – it was unexpected and rather magical.2 You know, the more I think about it, the more greatness I find in this film.

Lately there’s one issue brought up in so many reviews – while everything else is great, films have bad screenwriting. Well, Life of Pi has excellent screenwriting that only adds to the greatness of it.3 There were issues – I think. But since I really cannot remember any today, I’ll just accept that Life of Pi is a great film, and leave it at that.

Plot: 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.
Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Yann Martel (novel), David Magee (screenplay)
Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain

1 Such a great name, don’t you think?
2 Plus I adore meerkats.
3 And wow, does it make me smile how there was a love story that was small and not in focus!

17 responses to “Life of Pi (2012)

  1. Mostly agreed. When I left the theater I was comparing this too much to the book, and judging it too harshly based on the ways it wasn’t as awesome as the novel. (And it isn’t – it loses almost all of the book’s subtlety.)

    But after some reflection I came to accept it as a pretty remarkable achievement in it’s own right. It wound up 7th on my Top Ten list last year, out of some 90 2012 movies seen.

    Spoiler alert: Interesting, by the way, that you observed the animals acting too much like humans. Perhaps that’s because they were, in fact, human. 😉

  2. Good review Eilna. It was a very beautiful flick, in terms of message and visuals, but the ending itself just didn’t work. I heard it’s what happened in the book, but sometimes, when adapting a novel, you have to know what reads on the page, and how it translates to reading on film.

    • I actually liked the ending because it offered some closure. It could’ve been better, though, you’re right. I used to be a big advocate for staying true to the book but that has slowly faded as I’ve begun to realise there are some things that must be altered for the sake of the film. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great review. I was in awe when I finished watching the film. It was very beautiful, and I liked how the visuals and the screenplay clicked. I think it’s rare these days that such a simple movie can captivate audiences.

    • Truth be told, I expected this to be a bore (which is also why I didn’t get around to it earlier) – and I was so surprised at how taken I was with it. And thank you!

  4. Such a wonderful film. I wasn’t expecting a massive amount from it but it blew me away. And a great review too 🙂

  5. Great review Elina. I absolutely loved this when I seen it in the cinema but I do wonder how it holds up on a smaller screen.

  6. Nice review! I haven’t read the book so when I watched it, it was with wonder and awe. I agree the carnivorous island island is a great twist, I love the explanation at the end and the visuals are quite stunning.

  7. Good review Elina. LIfe of Pi was last years one of my most favorite films. The visuals are stunning, it’s like second Avatar.

  8. My favourite film of 2013. It was such a rich and magical experience for me.
    Loved everything about it.
    Lovely review!

  9. I loved this movie so much. I’m reading the book now, and it’s amazing as well. Man, his dad was hardcore, but I left the theater fully appreciating his no bullshit approach to everything. That said, his stern nature made me care even more about Pi.

    Ugh. This movie is sooo good.

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