Enjoy the magic of The Life of Pi

10 Dec

Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 17.48.35

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.

The Good.

If you had ever had any doubts about the use of 3D, cast them aside now. Life of Pi provides one hell of a journey, appreciated ten times more through the amazing depth that 3D can provide. Move over Avatar and James Cameron, Ang Lee may truly be the master here as he combines glorious colour with exceptional innovation in this area. Life of Pi has to be up there as one of the major contenders for Best Picture at next years Oscars.

If you’ve read the book, hopefully you wont be disappointed, and if you haven’t read the book, after watching this film you may just want to pickScreen Shot 2012-12-08 at 17.49.08 it up and give it a whirl. Life of Pi is a heart-warming tale of religion, belief, tragedy and determination. It is anchored by the exceptionally talented newcomer Suraj Sharma who plays Pi, and it’s his one man show that will keep audiences captivated for just over two hours. There are brilliant levels of humour, surprise and emotion throughout the whole of this film which will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout and as emotionally and physically drained as the lead actor by the end.

Ang Lee, takes something which was once deemed unfilmable and uses his incredible skill as a director to strike a balance within his visual storytelling to allow the audience to be completely captivated with the story that is told and to fully believe that this really could happen. One of the clever things Lee also manages to do, is cast relative unknowns. At one stage Tobey Maguire was attached to the film, but replacing him with Rafe Spall was a good strategic move as it does not distract the audience because of who he is, and allows the character of  “writer” to remain ambiguous to some extent as a secondary character to the story. The real focus must be the teenage Pi. Even Irrfan Patel as the adult Pi is secondary character for two thirds of the film, but comes into his own in the last part of the film to really tug on the heart strings of the audience – be prepared to shed a tear or two!

The Bad

Some may be dubious about the use of CGI in this film, but fear not, this issue becomes a mere flicker in your mind at the beginning and you Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 17.49.36quickly fall into the trance of the action taking place in front of you, and the CGI becomes nothing but a fully working and authentic zebra, chimpanzee or Bengal tiger. Every detail on each animal is so precise that its hard to separate what is real or fake, if any. What you also remember here is that Suraj Sharma is essentially acting with a tennis ball on a stick for the majority of this film, and you begin to really appreciate the clever choice that Ang Lee has made in casting him. How he feels that level of emotion and connection to these animals who were never really there must take years of acting training to even come close, yet Sharma manages it effortlessly and is utterly captivating. Another testament to this brilliant casting is in the final few scenes, where Pi recollects his experience, and in one medium close-up shot you watch him tell the story once more and the emotion radiates from him brilliantly.

The Ugly Truth

This film is a must see at the cinema. Whether you are a fan of the book or not, Life of Pi is truly a spectacle of cinematic brilliance. It brings the captivation and intrigue of films like Slumdog Millionaire, tugs on your heart strings like Bambi, and is probably one of Ang Lee’s most ambitious and strongest films to date.

Life of Pi opens in cinemas on the 20th December.

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