Life of Pi 3D (2012)

Life of Pi Movie PosterThe Life of Pi is an adaptation of the novel by Yann Martel, published in 2001, that tells the story of a young man's survival after the ship he is travelling on sinks in the Pacific. He survives on a life-raft with a Zebra, an Orangutang, a Hyena and a Bengal Tiger.

The film version has been adapted to screen by director Ang Lee (Eat Drink Man Woman [1994], Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [2000], Brokeback Mountain [2005]) and writer David Magee (Finding Neverland [2004]) and they do it very well. One of the hardest things with adapting a novel to screen is what do you leave in or take out. With Pi, I found nothing missing from the book, and if there was it was not necessary for the telling of the tale, making this by far the best literal adaptation of a novel to screen that I have seen.

The film opens with the writer meeting Pi Patel at his home in Canada with a brief explanation of how the writer came to find the Life of Pi – “a story that will make you believe in God”. This in itself is an excellent adaptation of the Author's note from the novel merged with the central narrative, and proof of David Magee's desire to provide a concise yet accurate telling of this tale. Pi then begins his story...

The film take us on a beautiful journey, filled with humanity and humour amidst tragedy and some spectacular visuals. The performance of Suraj Sharma as the young Pi is excellent in its innocence, bookended by Irrfan Khan's delightfully engaging elder Pi. The rest of the cast do a great job of establishing their characters and value to Pi with their limited screen time.

Life of Pi uses 3D incredibly well - The opening sequence of the animals in the zoo, some of the raft and underwater scenes (there is an almost palpable depth and scale to the imagery rather than the decoupage effect I have witnessed in other 3D films and trailers) entrancing the viewer with intense, vibrant, and surreal image in a manner that feels pure and inescapable. The technology is rarely used to hurl objects at the audience, instead focusing on the splendour, isolation and intimacy of the stage to great affect. The 3D is not perfect, but this is the first film since Avatar that has made me believe this technology can add something to the cinema experience.

Life of Pi brings to cinema a wonderful, humour and hope-filled fantasy to movie theatres inundated with gritty, realistic, heavily dramatic, or moronic films. It easily earns 9 out of 10.


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