Adventure | Drama
Yann Martel's Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi is a profoundly affecting experience. A young, bookish and religious Indian boy named Pi (pronounced as "Pie") from Pondicherry narrates his extraordinary ordeal as a castaway; shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Richard Parker, a dangerous 450-pound Bengal tiger, as his sole companion.
The book was masterfully written; poetic, intensely vivid, and mainly presents, with clarity, the thoughts, feelings and spirituality of Pi as he suffers tremendously in the limitless sea— a prey to his companion. It's a one-man's extraordinary fight against nature and hopelessness. Hence, the book, being too internal and lyrical, seems "unfilmable." And even if it is, you'd still doubt if Yann Martel's brilliant fiction can ever be translated satisfyingly to the big screen.
But director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland), proved all our doubts pointless. They did the impossible and created a movie adaptation that is not only visually stunning, but which also delivers a smooth, effortless storytelling that is able to preserve the book's emotional and soul-stirring experience. The movie intelligently picked only the most essential, substantial parts from the book; compacted within two hours the drama, humour, and adventure in the life of Pi. And the movie introduced a surprising talent: newcomer Suraj Sharma, who brought life to the protagonist and was emotionally engaging.
This is probably one of the finest, most polished 3D movies I have ever seen. 3D usually makes a film feel distant and detached, but this one makes you feel more connected to the story; you forget that you are wearing 3D glasses and instead you are thrown right in the midst of glorious nature scenes— both breathtaking and terrifying. Magical and unfamiliar. Expect to gasp out loud.
Life of Pi, nominated in this year's Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Director, is indeed a cinematic triumph— and it would be terrible to miss this on the big screen. It will entertain all audiences, and fans of the novel won't be disappointed. It's a movie that not only wholly entertains—both visually and emotionally—but it also presents an intensely moving truth about human nature, suffering, and the strength of the human will.
9.5 out of 10 stars
In Philippine theaters January 9, 2013, in 2D and 3D
Discuss the movie in the Life of Pi thread.