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

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

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