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

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

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