A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
In Canada, a writer visits the Indian storyteller Pi Patel and asks him to tell his life story. Pi tells the story of his childhood in Pondicherry, India, and the origin of his nickname. One day, his father, a zoo owner, explains that the municipality is no longer supporting the zoo and he has hence decided to move to Canada, where the animals the family owns would also be sold. They board on a Japanese cargo ship with the animals and out of the blue, there is a storm, followed by a shipwrecking. Pi survives in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a male Bengal tiger nicknamed Richard Parker. They are adrift in the Pacific Ocean, with aggressive hyena and Richard Parker getting hungry. Pi needs to find a way to survive.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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So, you were raised in a zoo?
Adult Pi Patel:
Born and raised. In Pondicherry, in what was the French part of India. My father owned the zoo, and I was delivered on short notice by a herpetologist, who was there to check on the Bengal monitor lizard. Mother and I were both healthy, but the poor lizard escaped and was trampled by a frightened cassowary. The way of karma, huh? The way of God.
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Ang lee's life of pi is an adaptation of a 'Man booker prize winner' novel by the same name, written by Yann Martel. It's a story set in the late seventies of an Indian teenager (Pi Patel) who is stranded on a life boat in the pacific. What distinguishes this tale of survival from the rest is that the author dishes out a delicious slice of creativity in giving the castaway, a tiger for a companion. Yes, like the posters and trailers have you believe, there is a boat on which a man and a tiger have to live! This makes 'life of pi' not only a story of human struggle against nature but also a profound tale that questions 'what separates man from beast?'. More interestingly, 'when does man become a beast'?
But worry not, Ang Lee's movie does not force you think on these lines , instead it's a film that lets you enjoy it on so many levels. If you are just looking for a beautiful 3D movie to feast your eyes , Life of pi can be it. If you are in a mood for a thrilling adventure epic on weekend, this is the right ticket. If indeed, you want to experience something thoughtful, Life of pi never forces you on a particular thought, instead it whispers ever so slightly to think about matters of human disposition and finding comfort in convention while caressing your senses with fabulous visuals and background score.
Suraj Sharma debuts as pi with utter sincerity while Irfan Khan(as adult pi) and Tabu(as mother) do justice to their parts. The rest of the supporting cast blend in perfectly too. Ang lee helms the film with difficult source material with absolute grace and expertise. However there are two true heroes that make Life of Pi work. Firstly the studio and creative director behind the magnificent CGI. The Bengal tiger is perhaps the best animated animal ever created! The angry green eyes, richly textured orange –white striped skin and every hair on its fur look rich and full of life in 3D.And then when your hear the thunderous roar for the first time, you will realize this is as real as it can get! The rest of the animals (a Zebra, an orangutan) look great too. The lovely blue ocean and its resident creatures are the jewel in the crown. The other hero is the writer David Magee(screenplay) who adapts the novel with near perfection. One gripe the fans of the novel might have is the lack of all the gore descriptions and a particular chapter that deals with the surviving 'French cook'. The addition of these might have pleased the audience who sought for the philosophical undertones from the story but the film would have lost out on the large PG-13 crowd (a fair deal considering the enormous budget).
Life of Pi, is a rare masterpiece that stands as a prototype not only for a perfect book adaptation and a 3D movie( sorry avatar, you have just been replaced), but also for a movie based on intricacies of human nature . Now that is simply an impressive triumph of film-making!
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