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

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

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