Movie Review: ‘Life of Pi’ is a Masterpiece by Ang Lee [Video]

Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”, an adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestseller about a 16-year-old Indian boy named Pi who survives a shipwreck and crosses the Pacific in a lifeboat, has managed to impress critics with its extraordinary visual effects, making the 3D exprerience definitely worth a watch.

The director’s stunning use of 3-D, the intriguing story of survival and the big issues it raises, and Suraj Sharma’s deft acting all add up.

The movie Life of Pi, Ang Lee’s adaptation of the wildly popular, arguably readable 2011 novel by Yann Martel, might be a good movie to see stoned—or maybe it’s just one that makes you feel as though you already are stoned, floating along on a sea of hyper-crisp 3-D images and evanescent spiritual insights.

This movie may really be called a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery. It has ample breathtaking visuals, an element of surrealism and all that topped with some twists and turns in the narrative – all these ingredients make for an extremely delicious fare that the Academy Award winning director Ang Lee has made.

First many readers of this worldwide best-seller must have assumed it to be unfilmable, but in reality it is a triumph over its difficulties. It is also a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to ‘life’.
The film tells a story of a 16-year-old boy, the younger son of an Indian zoo owner, trapped with a fierce Bengal tiger on a life boat on sea a terrible shipwreck during a storm in the Pacific Ocean.

Named Piscine Molitor after his uncle’s favorite Parisian swimming pool — he adopts the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet as a nickname to avoid schoolyard teasing — Pi grows up in Pondicherry, a serene and picturesque city in South India.

His childhood unfolds in this colorful setting, beautifully filmed by Claudio Miranda, inflected with a hint of exoticism by Mychael Danna’s score and graced with the presence of a handful of excellent Indian actors, notably Adil Hussain and Tabu as Pi’s parents, writes The New York Times.

Young Pi’s existence — and also that of the gentle, professorial man he will grow into — is dominated by religion. Pi’s story, the Canadian writer is told, “will make you believe in God,” and Pi himself is infused with a godliness that knows no doctrinal limits.

The movie is a quiet combination of various religious traditions to show the story in the wonder of life. How remarkable that these two mammals, and the fish beneath them and birds above them, are all here. And when they come to a floating island populated by countless meerkats, what an incredible sequence Lee creates there.

According to the LA Times, it is a richly drawn interior work, much of it spent inside Pi’s mind or awash in his memories. Lee and screenwriter David Magee have managed to stay true to the source without being constrained by it, as so often happens in adaptations.

Indeed, Lee has enhanced the novel’s power, employing 3-D and CGI technology with such originality that there are moments when the ocean seems to float around you. Everything looks beautiful in Life of Pi. The dangerous animals look beautiful.

The terrible storms look beautiful. The crashing ocean waves, the twinkling stars, the wondrous carnivorous island on which the hero at one point lands — pure exquisiteness, shimmering with all the wow that superlative 3-D technology has to offer.

Technology employed by sensitive hands brings to vivid life a work that would have been inconceivable onscreen until very recently in Life of Pi. Ang Lee, that great chameleon among contemporary directors, achieves an admirable sense of wonder in this tall tale about a shipwrecked teenager stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, a yarn that has been adapted from the compellingly peculiar best-seller with its beguiling preposterousness intact, reports the Hindustan Times.

Like the venerable all-purpose entertainments of Hollywood’s classical era, this exceptionally beautiful 3D production should prove accessible to and embraceable by all manner of audiences, signaling substantial commercial possibilities domestically and probably even moreso internationally.

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