Life of Pi FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
20th Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Dune Entertainment, Rhythm and Hues and Ingenious Films present a PG, 127 minute, adventure, drama, directed by Ang Lee, screenplay by David Magee and novel by Yann Martel with a theater release date of November 21, 2012.
When a writer (Rafe Spall) comes looking for an incredible story by a matured Pi (Irrfan Khan) he has no idea that the story would not only be magnificent but one that seems too hard to believe. A young Pi grew up in India named after a swimming pool in Paris called the Piscine and for his entire young life he was bullied by other children as a boy named after the act of urinating. Kids can be cruel of course but as Piscine grew up he became known thereafter as Pi. His father (Adil Hussain) and mother (Tabu) ran a local zoo in the area, harboring some of the most beautiful and intriguing creatures to walk the earth. Since this film is in 3D the audience is truly blessed to witness some of the most breath-taking cinematography to hit the big screen not only during the times at the zoo but throughout the entire two hour film.
Pi’s parents wanted a better life for their children and decided to sell the zoo take the animals along with Pi’s brother Ravi (Vibish Sivakumar) and travel to Canada on a Japanese ship. Once on board the family being vegetarian did not see eye to eye with the French cook (Gerard Depardieu) so spent most of the time for meals in cargo with the zoo animals sharing the rations of fruits and vegetables with them. Pi was a young man of many studied religions and questioned God and the reasons for his actions toward the world and the people that live in it. During a severe storm the Tsimtsumi, the Japanese ship, shank in the Pacific Ocean leaving Pi adrift on a 26 foot lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, orangutan and a Bengal tiger. There are several moments during the storm that the director takes us under the water to not only experience the depths of the oceans and the sharks that feed on the helpless animals and people but a look at the ship as it sinks to the ocean floor taking Pi’s entire life as he knew it with it, gone forever. As you can assume the food chain began to kick in along the journey on the lifeboat so if you are squeamish watching National Geographic than good luck for some circle of life moments in this story that take place within a confined space.
Eventually all that is left is Richard Parker, the given name of the tiger, Pi and for a very short period on screen, a rat. The writers and director from this point on take us on a journey of self-awareness, life and death, the meaning of life, God and the relationship or lack thereof between a wild tiger and a young man. Dolphins, whales, flying fish, storms, sharks, dreams and the screams for help for God are all part of this incredible journey that makes you feel like you’re part of this young man’s hopes for survival not only against the elements at sea but the tiger in which he shares a lifeboat with as well.
When they stumble upon an island filled with meerkats you may question the reality of this land lost at sea and the reasons for Pi and the tiger landing on it. Is it real or is it a test of sanity, either way it becomes a sign that God is watching and sometimes all it takes are the little signs along the way to make one understand his validity. One problem, the island holds a deadly secret so Pi and Richard Parker must flee. In the end, life has a way of letting go and one must always remember to take a moment to say good bye before it’s too late. Overall, people will believe what they wish to believe and sometimes if a story is too tall to comprehend then another may get created in the reflection of the truth but it is up to each individual listening to accept or decline the truth for a lie that may seem more realistic to what they believe to be the truth.
Even though I thought the film started out somewhat slow and bit bizarre once the director takes us on the ocean journey the film really takes on a whole new voyage filled with a superb story in the life of one young man and the small world in which he shared with a familiar Bengal tiger. Even though the writers make us question so many aspects of life and God the film never becomes preachy but instead leaves it up to the individual to question their own beliefs about the world and the life within it. Some of the best cinematography I’ve seen along with a superb score and brilliant acting by Sharma and the film like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” will leave you mesmerized for two hours. The animal lovers in the world will really fall in love with this film for so many reasons from beginning to end. Written and appreciated for the beauty and truth behind this story with three and half paws out of four by Jon Patch.