I mentioned to a friend of mine that I was going to see Life of Pi and she was adamant that I read the book before venturing off to see this film. Like most people I have found that the book is always better than the movie. Books always lend more scope, detail and feeling to a story as they can put in the character’s thoughts and feelings where that’s not always possible in a visual medium. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but I felt that the movie was actually able to do something that a book could never do: put on one of the best visually entertaining spectacles I have ever seen.
Life of Pi is exactly what the title implies. It’s about the life of a person named Pi, or as his parents called him Piscine Molitor Patel (Suraj Sharma). The movie does a great job of addressing a question I’m pretty sure anyone who has heard of the film has; is it a movie about math? It’s not, but they do make references to the irrational number of Pi in a fantastic way. The film is told interview-style by a writer interviewing Pi as an adult (Irrfan Khan) about his life. We then get to revisit his life through Pi’s narration and flashbacks of his life.
We begin with Pi as a child, he is raised in the zoo that his parents own and he is curious about everything. He begins to take on multiple religions and is fascinated with school and learning. His father is very eager to teach him life lessons when given the opportunity and wants Pi to be able to use logic and reasoning before clinging on to any religion. It’s the teachings of his father that Pi gives credit to for his survival.
As Pi ages, school begins to bore him and he starts to become interested in women. Just as he meets a girl that he wants to be with, his father announces during dinner that their family will be moving to Canada. In only a few months time, they sell the animals of the zoo to someone in America and their journey to Canada begins.
They are traveling on a large Japanese ship along with the animals when a storm erupts at sea. Pi finds himself deserted on a lifeboat with only a few animals including a tiger named Richard Parker. From there, Pi finds his self lost at sea on a journey where he has to fight for survival and learn how to tame a Tiger.
Life of Pi is a film that you must see in theaters—and probably in. I generally dislike 3D but I thought Life of Pi used it very well and it added to the film. The film is more than just a person lost at sea; it’s about a person learning to overcome his fears, Mother Nature and everything in between. It’s also a thought provoking film and the story does a good job of letting the audience enjoy the visuals of the film and then waiting until the end of the film to bring things back around and give the audience something to dwell on. Also, as I alluded to before, there are plenty of incredibly shot scenes and beautiful landscapes that are comparable to the best landscape paintings out there. One reason people like to see movies is to look at things that they might never have the opportunity to see otherwise; this film does that like no other.