Life of Pi (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Life of Pi (2012)

Pi on boat

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

Pi on boat

I find it interesting that both The Grey and Life of Pi were released in the same year because they share many qualities.  They both are about fighting for survival past the limits of the human body, they include man vs. the harsh elements of nature, and both have the ever present threat of an animal that is an embodiment of death itself.  Also, one other thing, both of them happen to be some of the best films I have seen this year.

Life of Pi is a gorgeous tale told with a deft hand by director Ang Lee who should (and probably will) be up for another directing nomination this year.  It is a tale of survival, a spiritual examination, and a story about the power of words and imagination.  The movie might take place primarily in a small lifeboat with a boy and a tiger, but it is so much more than that.

Pi boat sinks

The shipwreck was harrowing and one of the best scenes of the year.

Pi starts out the movie as a middle aged man comfortably living in Canada when an author looking for a story comes to talk to him on a recommendation of a stranger that he met while researching another book.  The older Pi has no problems discussing his life and spiritual beliefs. He starts out the story talking about him as a child and how his heavy interest in God helped him follow the practices of not only the Hindu religion but also Christianity and Muslim.

This is seen as strange by his science minded dad who even remarks about it is not having faith when you believe in everything.  Pi is not “hedging his bets” but is trying to feel close to God in anyway possible. He is very spiritual and that faith is put to the test.

When he is a teenager, Pi is on his way to Canada with his family and many animals from his father’s zoo when a horrible storm capsizes the boat, killing all on board except for Pi, a zebra, hyena, orangutan and tiger, who all escape on one lifeboat.  With hungry animals on a small boat, it isn’t long before the strongest survive and the boat is just Pi and the Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Pi has to learn how to keep a hungry tiger at bay and how he will stay alive with no supplies, but even more important he has to find a reason why he should even try to keep living.

Richard Parker stalking prety

They isn't much room on the boat, something the 3-D shows well.

I seldom say this but Life of Pi is a movie that MUST be seen in 3-D on the biggest screen around.  Unlike most films that use 3-D as a gimmick, Lee uses it as a tool in his storytelling arsenal.  The film is beautiful to look at with many striking colors, dreamy visuals, and 3-D used to convey scope.

Life of Pi does everything a great film should do.  It is a visual feast that has images that will linger in your mind for days to come.  There are moments where the score, acting and look meld so well together that it makes the spirit soar.  This is a film that will also make one feel.  There were a few moments in the film where I was a little choked up because the film hit on some things that are very true for me and the way the movie handles these moments were beautiful.

When the tiger (who is not ever seen as a cuddly creature and more often than not made to be nothing more than a never ending danger) leaves Pi at the end of the movie and the voice over talks about how life is all about saying good bye eventually I felt like I was hit in the stomach because the moment resonated so well.  The very end where an alternate version of the story is told had to be the most important scene for the story to work and they way Lee frames teenage Pi with a stark white background behind him works perfectly.  For a movie that treats the viewer to a colorful film like nothing before, the harsh truth that (maybe) found in these moments is washed out and stark, just as it should have been.

Richard Parker Peek a Boo

The danger is always there.

I never read the book but if it is anything like the movie, I can see why it is so beloved.  I wish I had knew people that have seen the film so I can talk about it and discuss what everyone thought.  It has been over 24 hours since I have seen the film and it is about the only thing that has held my thoughts.  I already want to see it again. It has been a very good year for movies, in my opinion, and Life of Pi goes near the top of the list of the best movies around in 2012.

If you enjoy my writing or podcast work, please consider becoming a monthly Patron or sending a one-time contribution! Every bit helps keep Can't Stop the Movies running and moving toward making it my day job.

Posted by Ryan

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Fantastic post! About time someone that really knows what
    they are talking about and can as well produce insightful blog for us the readers.
    without doubt looking forward to your next offering.

Leave Your Thoughts!

Trackbacks are disabled.