This is my first film review (other than some scrappy ones I did ages ago, like for Tuck Everlasting...but that one was like, two sentences) and I'm really happy to say that it is: Life of Pi!
director: Ang Lee
release date: 2012
studio: Fox 2000 Pictures
I had read Life of Pi for school, and since my teacher didn't really teach it much at all: I had no idea what it try was about, and I didn't really like it. In fact, I hated it.
Conveniently, the film was to come out only a few weeks after I finished reading it. I wondered: how can you make a film about a book that's pretty much a massive metaphor with symbolism on every page? Apparently you can.
As my dad, brother and I walked into the showing, I could see other Indian families there. People probably assumed we were only there because of the Indian actors and how the main character is Indian. Actually, it was because I wanted to watch it because of the book and how people in my class kept telling me how amazing it was.So thus, my choice was in. However, we went to the show that was in 3D and I was groaning. I hate 3D, and throughout the film, I realised it wasn't really necessary to have the goggles. Life of Pi isn't the type of film that REQUIRES 3D glasses, which would best fit a super SG film like Avatar (James Cameron).
I was amazed by how beautifully the entire film was done, from the very beginning. Beside me, my Dad was like a little child, humming along with old Indian tunes and smiling and laughing. But that died down as the true grit of the film progressed.
I was completely serious the entire time. The film was beautifully done, and it seemed as if reality and fiction moulded together seamlessly, both story-wise, and visually. Do you remember that film, Cast Away with Tom Hanks and his football Wilson? In that film, you could easily tell they actually filmed on an actual island with actual trees and sand and water...but in Life of Pi, the water reflected the sky like glass. The beautiful, thriving life of the bright sea creatures, then incredibly detail in the animals like Richard Parker and Orange Juice, and the lovely soundtrack transported me to another world.
The beautiful special effects, and the transitions from scene to scene, and EACH scene was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The best filming I've ever seen. And also, I enjoyed how Lee designed the boat to be like the one on the original cover of Life of Pi. This film truly stuck to the book, and the meaning of the book. There was no deviating (I loved it!)
The film starts off introducing Pi, and all is bright and happy. This is where the theatre laughed and chuckled. In the book, the transition from normality to stranded, hopelessness was not really accentuated. I didn't really hear much else about Pi's family and I didn't really see or hear any desperate shrieks, yelling and all that...but having it on film hit home. To see Pi wailing, to see him mourn over his family which I had grown to like, was remarkable. The entire way through the beginning, I was dreading the ship wreck. I grew to love Pi's family and his peacefulness and innocence and then was hit with reality.
What I also liked about the film was that it showed the allegories of the book, and how religion played a key part in the whole story. When Pi was starving and he killed his first creature (the fish) and burst into tears, thanking Vishnu for taking the form of a fish to save him."Thank you Lord Vishnu. Thank you for coming in the form of a fish and saving our lives." I don't know if anyone other than the Indians knew that signficance. Vishnu incarnates in the form of more or less than ten creatures, a fish, a turtle, a boar and so on. Each time he takes on a form, he saved Earth or saved something (can't really explain without going in detail). When he shouts his thanks, my Dad chuckles. While I am sitting there, my hands rubbing my neck furiously and my eyes threatening to spill tears as I can see how Lee incorporated the importance of religion in Life of Pi. It wasn't just Hinduism, but the other main religions of the world. Some people believe that Pi's life after the Tsitsum sinks is a spiritual journey, but that wasn't really shown in the film expect for those scenes where he talked about God. And the whole theme of the story "I have a story that will make you believe in God"
I think my favourite scene (or scenes) was when, when the sinking was happening, Pi was waking his brother Raj up to come watch the lightening and thunder with him. Raj refused, of course, wanting to sleep and Pi ran up and laughed, slipping about the ship and doing funny dances. In just a few seconds, he's being tossed on a boat with his family drowned in their bunks. "My family!"
I wrote an essay on how Richard Parker is actually Pi. There are two halves: one half, the animal-istic nature in humans, is Richard Parker; The other half, the rationally human half, is Pi. However, I really wish there would have been more of an emphasis on the religion part and how important it was to the book.
The film overall was spectacular, however, and I really enjoyed it!
There were many beautiful scenes, and even more beautiful lines in this film. Life of Pi is unforgettable! Since I don't know how to describe it, I'll let my idol Tom Hiddleston explain (he got to go to the premier!)
I give this film 4 and a half trees!