I must say, this film was a late screening for me. Despite all the hype and media around its debut, I was convinced that I would wait and if it was as good as they said, it would only be better later on, and it was! This film takes you back to the days when imagination and good writing came hand in hand. From the get go, this film had an air of whimsy and imagination. A story of a boy, learning about life through the eyes of a child. Of love, pain, sadness and hurt and the drive to survive. Director Ang Lee, most definitely took note of the success of this previous film, “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” (2000), and turned the fantasy up to 11.
Life Of Pi is a story that is relatable to everyone. The naivety of the protagonist takes the audience back to the days when the world was full of mystery and magic. The author took great time in creating a world, where fantastic was acceptable and the outer-ordinary was something you could take to heart as realism. For me, the most beautiful shots were the sea creatures at night and the placid endless water, with its dual reflections of the night’s sky. Lee captured these moments with sure grander and gave the audience an experience rather than just a few pretty shots. At times, it was difficult to tell where the real ended and the Special Visual Effects began. The scenes with the Bengal Tiger were no short of magnificent. The interruptions and the movement of this beast was so beautifully done, I was left amazed with the simple and effective ways of hiding the CGI transitions. The film uses highly theatrical systems to create a world that is excusable to the fantastic. Scenes of a whale shark swimming under the boat and a carnivorous island in the shape of a floating dead woman, seems ridiculous but the film makes it work.
With regard to content, the film centres much around the belief in religion and the acceptance of a omnipresent God. Despite the heavy religious intonations, this film is not religious. The Story neatly doubts and accepts religion in a way that is not offensive to either persuasion. I really like this aspect. The crux of the story is, just that, a story. The understanding that a story doesn’t have to be, real or true, but rather a tale of interest, beauty and drive. I loved the closing of the film, where the “writer” in the film as well as the audience cannot tell which story is true. But that wasn’t the point, now was it, the protagonist says. To me, this is what makes a good film as well. It’s the opportunity to tell something that engages you, drives you and makes you feel, but it doesn’t have to be real.
I will give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I love this film. I think it is will touch your heart strings and make you realise why you loved fairy tales and stories as a child. I recommend a viewing and you will not be disappointed.