Did you ever want to read a book, but then you don’t? Then the movie version of the book comes out, so you go see the movie instead, and then you wish you read the book first? And then after you see the movie, you don’t really want to read the book anymore? That is me with Life of Pi, a Best Picture Nominee.
My one word review: Huh.
That’s what I said when the movie ended. Huh. Not with tone or attitude. I really was thinking hard.
Life of Pi is about a young boy curious about religion, who becomes a young man whose family is in the process of moving a zoo from India to Canada on a cargo ship. After a problem that causes the ship to sink, Pi, our hero (played by Suraj Sharma), ends up on a lifeboat– with a tiger named Richard Parker, a zebra, an orangutan, and a hyena. Eventually, it’s just Pi and the tiger. Pi survives with the tiger on the ocean for days, then weeks, then months. In the meantime, he finds supplies hidden in the bottom of the lifeboat: a pencil and a guide book, food, life jackets. However, a hungry, cranky Richard Parker has deemed the lifeboat his own territory, so Pi spends most of his time a few yards away attached to the lifeboat by a rope, on a floatation device he crafted out of oars and life vests.
Much like Tom Hanks garnered emotional support from Wilson the ball in Castaway, Pi develops a relationship with Richard Parker. He writes in his makeshift journal that taking care of RP and keeping himself alive in RP’s presence keeps him sane and on his toes and gives him a purpose. When Pi has the opportunity to let RP drown after RP jumps in the sea in pursuit of a fish dinner, he doesn’t. He saves RP. Once he spends some time training the tiger, they have a better understanding of each other and learn to co-exist on their little boat in the sea.
Here’s what I liked about Life of Pi– it’s a beautiful movie to watch, with color and effects and designs and animals. I saw it in 3-D, which I thought would annoy me and give me a migraine, but my eyes adjusted okay and I came to appreciate the extra effect. Ang Lee directed the movie and certainly deserves his nomination for Best Director. I can assume that the movie is a forerunner in the Best Cinematography category, for which it was also nominated. You watch certain scenes and feel your eyes widen and you think, “Wow. That’s neat.”
I also thought the last twenty minutes of the movie made the whole thing one-hundred times more interesting, resulting in my Huh. Because I have to admit, friends, that I sort of felt like the middle was boring. I rarely look at the clock during a movie, but during Pi, I admit I checked my phone once or twice.
I get that I need to read the book, which I hear is excellent. I understand that the book more fully develops the story and enhances the story’s spiritual themes, which maybe didn’t come across as well on the big screen. Still, it was well-done. The movie got me thinking- about faith, and religion, and survival and all that fun stuff.
Life of Pi is a great watch- well-deserving of your time and money, and deserving of the nomination. I’m glad I watched it in 3-D at the theater instead of on my television screen. It’s exquisite, and touching, and thought-provoking, but I wish it had a bit more of something to push it over the edge into awesomeness. Just my opinion.
Thanks for reading!