hanging-out-logo

Film Blog

The Life of Pi

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ang Lee’s dreamlike film The Life of Pi tells the story of a young Indian boy, who finds himself stranded on a raft with only a hungry Bengal Tiger to keep him company and the lengths he goes to survive and keep the tiger at bay.



It is in the telling of this story that one finds the best achievement of this film. Other reviewers appear to have gone overboard with lavish praise of the special effects, but the actual narrative and the way it is presented is captivating and masterfully achieved. In the hands of others this film might have boiled down to a shaggy dog (or tiger!) story but Lee uses the right mix of humour, action sequences and storytelling, keeping the audience captivated, emotionally attached and never delving to far into the realms style over substance- something that 3d pictures have tended to do so far.

The film is divided into three parts; the first, fun but slightly too long, explains Pi’s early years and sets the scene for what is to come. We learn from the narration of the adult Pi, talking to an author looking to clear his writer’s block, that his father owned a zoo in India which he decides to transport to Canada to sell, using the funds to resettle his family there. One of the inhabitants of the zoo that we have already been introduced to (and witnessed the ferocity of, courtesy of a poor, wobbly goat) is the fully grown Benghal Tiger called Richard Parker. The second part begins after the steamer he is travelling on sinks. Pi finds himself sharing his dingy with Richard Parker and a selection of other animals that are all polished off rather quickly, leaving him to play cat and mouse with Richard Parker. The ways in which Pi learns to live with Richard Parker and find food for both of them are touching and funny but one does get the sense that they are occasionally slightly strained in Lee’s search for profundity. The third section of the film ties up the conversation and adds a closure to the film as well as providing a nice little twist to the tale.



Suraj Sharma, who plays the younger Pi, makes an impressive film debut. Image courtesy of Bollywood Hungama

Throughout the film the compositions that Lee uses are wonderful, he takes the ocean and uses it like a blank canvas; the special effects are also impressive during the action sequences, but sometimes the 3d seems at odds with the CGI; when there is a lot happening on the screen the film started to look like a computer game. The CGI showcase of the film was undoubtedly meant to be the Tiger, but in some scenes the resemblance was a little too close to The Jungle Book.

I don’t mind admitting that I am sceptical of CGI. For me there is no real wonder or awe in an image that was generated by a computer. It used to be fun to guess and be impressed with man-made special effects, they had a “how did they do that?” factor to them. The use of CGI, for me, removes the human touch and artistic ability that should be cherished in cinema. That is not to say that it was not visually impressive: the 3d in the underwater scenes were excellent, giving the viewer a sense of depth and perspective not normally found.

The Life of Pi is a very enjoyable cinematic experience, with dazzling digital images and, if you can ignore the slightly silly search for greater meaning, an enjoyable, well told story that is never too challenging. It is showing at Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch, details are available here.

By Lee Greatorex

Recent Posts


Tags

Elam Forrester Benghal Tiger Magnolia 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s independence Hans Zimmer Rob Steinberg controversy Black Friday lynching CGI Don Letts Platt Arnon Milchan Drama British epic channel 4 interview Jeremy Kleiner Bryan Batt Quvenzhané Wallis 2014 Golden Globes Henry Caville fieldslave Scoot McNairy Kilburn 2013 Sundance Film Festival Bill Camp memoir Brixton Riots Poster freedom Robots of Brixton Sean Bobbitt 150 years ago America Michael Shannon African American The Avengers Louisiana Bob Marley’s son Best Actor One Love Lupita Nyong'o Django Unchained Ang Lee Garret Dillahunt marek tarkowski Chris Chalk Adepero Oduye Chiwetel Ejiofor Jamie Foxx Morgan Heritage violence Rick Elgood Man of Steel Michael K. Williams Sean Paul Yvonne Deutschman Prometheus HBO TV freeman Superman Illustrator Memory Loss Steve McQueen Fantasy drugged Jamaica Sizzla New York State free North Devyn A. Tyler overseer novelist Sundance Film Festival Oscars Joe Walker Slavery cotton film Factory Fifteen Taran Killam Brad Pitt Saratoga Springs Christoph Waltz Jay Huguley Robot and Frank The Life of Pi New Orleans Joseph Logsdon Felicity Sue Eakin 1853 Richard Parker Ruth Negga Washington Idris Elba screenwriter 12 Years a Slave best motion picture Dwight Henry Deep South Dede Gardner Madonna Bethnal Green Cameron Zeigler violent John Ridley Sly and Robbie Anthony Katagas Patsey Trevor D Rhone Robert Redford Benedict Cumberbatch Cherine Anderson Zanzibar Shaggy Regency Enterprises The Harder They Come Quentin Tarantino Rich Mix Michael Fassbender Solomon Northup historical Christopher Berry west end pub Slaves Writer short film nine Academy Award long take tricked Bocage Destrehan Paul Dano Science Fiction Leonardo DiCaprio United States Stoker Peter Sarsgaard Paul Giamatti Best Picture walk the line Kibwe Tavares revenge Best Director Hanging Out Project Alfre Woodard Bob Marley black man true story Ky-mani Marley Britney Spears Bill Pohlad Hanging Out Jonah Michael Fanti Frank Langella Russell Crowe Kelsey Scott carpenter Bass Zack Snyder Wyclef Jean Sarah Paulson Dementia

Archive

    Business Hubs

    Tuareg Productions LTD
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    richmix
    saint-martins-college-of-arts-design
    xclusive-touch
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    xnew-art-exchange
    kent-creative
    ace-cafe-london
    xclusive-chauffeuring