Life of Pi is a touching fable | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Life of Pi is a touching fable 

Richard Palmer the tiger and Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) in "Life of Pi"

Photo courtesy of Rhythms & Hues

Richard Palmer the tiger and Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) in "Life of Pi"

Pi Patel lives with his family in Pondicherry, India, where they own a zoo. Financial woes force them to sell their menagerie in North America, and they set out together on a long sea voyage. A storm savages the vessel and strands Pi in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Adapted from Yann Martel's beloved novel and directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi is exciting and visually spectacular. Newcomer Suraj Sharma is entirely believable as Pi, quite a green screen feat, and the CGI tiger is g(rr)reat. Richard Parker's convincing appearance expands the possibilities for nonhuman characters, just as it once seemed that Steven Spielberg held dinosaur auditions for Jurassic Park and chose the best actors.

Having said that, I have two major quibbles. One is the incredibly awkward framing device of having the adult Pi telling his story to an aspiring novelist, who is white. Really? The brown guy's story still has to be validated by the white guy? What's wrong with a straight first-person narration? Secondly is 3-D. I know there are financial pressures, and directors want to expand their toolbox (Mom ... Marty Scorsese did it!). But every time somebody pokes a stick out of the screen at me, it takes me completely out of the story. And I wish I could have experienced some of the astounding sea and skyscapes without fussing with the focal length of my 3-D glasses. This film was diminished by gimcrackery.

Life of Pi is The Jungle Book in a boat, with the conflict boiled down to the life and death struggle between Mowgli and Sher Khan. Martel's novel is read in some schools, and I salute Lee for crafting a PG-rated film about a boy and a savage carnivore, eminently suitable for older children, which doesn't shy away from the big questions of faith, anthropomorphizing animal companions and humanity's own savage nature.

This article appeared in print with the headline "In the same boat."

Film Details

Life of Pi 3D
Rated PG · 126 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.lifeofpimovie.com
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee and Yann Martel
Producer: Ang Lee, Gil Netter and David Womark
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, Ayush Tandon and Adil Hussain
Life of Pi
Rated PG · 126 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.lifeofpimovie.com
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee and Yann Martel
Producer: Ang Lee, Gil Netter and David Womark
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, Ayush Tandon and Adil Hussain
Life of Pi: An IMAX 3D Experience
Rated PG · 126 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.lifeofpimovie.com
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee and Yann Martel
Producer: Ang Lee, Gil Netter and David Womark
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, Ayush Tandon and Adil Hussain

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Life of Pi

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I am indeed very happy for my life; My name is Vargas Cynthia I never thought that I will live …

by Vargas Cynthia on Axis of Cinema (Film Review)

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

The only peeople who murdered those boys were let off by an inexperienced prosecutor and hoodwinked judge. The facts are …

by Greg 1 on The West Memphis Three are free ... what about the real killer? (Film Review)

"Miles Ahead"... "opening Friday".... where? I'm having a tough time finding film times/locations on www.indyweek.com now. The …

by Tbone on Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Film, Miles Ahead, Isn’t a Real Biopic—It’s Something Better (Film Review)

Comments

I am indeed very happy for my life; My name is Vargas Cynthia I never thought that I will live …

by Vargas Cynthia on Axis of Cinema (Film Review)

The lobster is arbitrarily asinine, disjointed, and gratuitously violent towards both humans and former humans that "didn't make it." If …

by Marco_Polo on The Lobster Surreally Skewers Society’s Fear of Single People (Film Review)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation