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Movie Review: Life of Pi – 2012, Ang Lee

Life of Pi at seaPreviews for Ang Lee’s acclaimed film Life of Pi reveal it as a stunning visual odyssey. But my question going in was, beyond the luminescent whales and psychedelic bubble constellations, does the film have a soul?

In many ways, Life of Pi reminds me of Tim Burton’s 2003 Big Fish, one of my favorite films. It’s about life viewed through mystical eyes. There is laughter, heartache, depth, and, indeed, a soul.

Life of Pi poster

Life of Pi is based on Yann Martel’s bestselling novel and tells of a family who owns a zoo but is forced, for financial reasons, to relocate it from India to Canada via oceanic freighter. Disaster strikes en route, sinking the ship and killing the family of the title character, Pi.

Pi finds himself stranded aboard a life boat with a motley assortment of zoo animals, including a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a tiger named Richard Parker. Before long, only Pi and Richard Parker remain, an unlikely duo to be stranded at sea but one that provides unique insight into what it means to be human.

The two eventually learn to live together, despite their obvious differences, and without each other would surely have died. Pi confesses in one scene, “Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now. My fear of him keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose.”

As reflected in this quote, Life of Pi is the tale of life with its barest essentials. With all its worldly impurities boiled away, even at its most fundamental core of base survival, life is full of majesty and magic that make it worth fighting for.

Religion and spirituality give the film its framework and mystery; is there a God? Why does he allow tragedy here only to pour salvation there? Why are some of us open to him and others are not? And Ang Lee fleshes out that framework out with a film that is absolutely gorgeous to the eyes and to the heart.

After a couple days of “marinating” in it after watching it, my appreciation for it has grown, and that’s always a good thing. I’m looking very forward to a second viewing to see what more I can pull from its well. I plan to read the book, too, once I get caught up on all the others in my queue!

Life of Pi score: 4.5 Falcone Rings!
4.5 Falcone Rings

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4 comments on “Movie Review: Life of Pi – 2012, Ang Lee

  1. John Stanton
    March 21, 2013

    Loved it as well and too can’t wait to get back to a second viewing….Great review!

  2. Grande Falcone
    March 21, 2013

    Thanks John. After still having seen only three of the Best Pic nominees (Lincoln, Argo, and Life of Pi), I would’ve picked Life of Pi to win. Still looking forward to making my way through the remaining glut of interesting films from 2012 (Djengo, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings, and the rest).

  3. CMrok93
    March 21, 2013

    The visuals are solid, the character is well developed, the story and its message is deep and meaningful, the acting is fantastic and the music is a wonder to listen to. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it still is worth the watch. Good review Grande.

  4. Grande Falcone
    March 21, 2013

    Thanks CMrok93. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

    Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that it is a “clean” movie. I don’t know that there was any profanity (aside from the kids making fun of his name), graphic violence, or sexuality. A rare achievement today.

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2013 by in Books & Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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