If you are seeking for a cinematographic review of the movie “The Life of Pi” then, look elsewhere. The DVD cover quotes a reviewer stating, “A visual miracle.” Well, while it is nice to look at and contains much fantasy computer generated graphics; so do 1,001 other movies.
The Life of Pi has two main characters; a man who does not believe in God (whatever that is, according to this movie) but would like to if persuaded and Pi to whom the man is sent for such persuasion.
Pi is Indian in origin (not Native American but Indian from India) and was thus, raised Hindu. Hinduism is somewhat of a generic term but generally denotes belief in, literally, millions of gods and engagement upon many occult practices (by any other name; practices upon which Westerners place happy faces as they water them down and clean them up for Western consumption; consider transcendental meditation or Yoga as two examples).
Pi’s father is a cynic (some would say skeptic or rational) who is not religious but has a problem with Pi’s beliefs due to their illogical nature. You see, along the way Pi also becomes a Catholic and a Muslim. Thus, he is, at once, a Hindu-Catholic-Muslim. This will make up the bulk of our exposing the secret Life of Pi or, rather, the secret of the Life of Pi; meaning, what the movie really about.
The movie is supposed to be about truly experiencing God in one’s own way and this is the movie’s biggest problem. It is not difficult to understand why this movie would appeal to many people; especially in this age of synchrotististic if it feels good, it must be true (you can learn the folly of such a view by reading my conversation with a New Ager).
However, as I watched it I was continuously embarrassed for the script writers; it is so utterly illogical, pseudo-spiritual and theologically bankrupt—even whilst pushing a theology of its own.
Long movie short; Pi’s family owns a zoo and whilst moving the animals via seaborne ship they encounter a storm which sinks the ship. Pi’s parents drown as do all of the animals sans an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra, a tiger and Pi. They all end up on a life-boat and you can imagine the difficulty of a carnivorous tiger in a little boat with plenty of “food.”
In the end, the only ones who survive are Pi and the tiger. Once they make it to land the ship’s insurance company interviews Pi so as to know how to handle the financial loss.
He tells them the story about him and the animals, along with his experiences upon a mysterious island and they basically do not believe him. In the end, he retells the story but divulges that it was mostly symbolic with the orangutan representing his mother, the hyena being a cook, the zebra being a tailor and…we will come to the tiger and Pi in a moment.
Thus, the story is about these people surviving but ending up murdering each other on the lifeboat (Pi was at sea for a total of 277 days).
Along the way, Pi notes that he came to know God via his ordeal and so, on the surface, the movie has Pi representing himself and the tiger representing god. This alone is problematic; even though it would appear that God the tiger is purposefully putting Pi through ordeals which eventually lead to Pi being closer to God—as the two do develop a relationship of sorts—it is Pi who is training the tiger, bending the tiger’s will towards his own; Pi is directing and redefining the tiger.
On the other hand; the movie also resents Pi as the tiger and god as Pi. Thus, it is the other way around; this would make more sense as God/Pi is training the Pi/tiger. However, this too is problematic for when they finally come to dry land it is emphasized that Pi/god laments that as the tiger/Pi is walks away and is about to disappear into the trees the tiger/Pi does not bother to look back which would have been a symbol of gratitude, so long and thanks of all the fish, etc.
Thus, the secret of the Life of Pi is that Pi simply walks away from god without so much as a thanks and goes back to his life (in the woods) to keep acting as a wild animal (the tiger).
While, for example, Sikhism claims to have reconciled Islam and Hinduism; one can imagine how problematic that is, both logically and theologically. It is claiming that God is, at once and both, one single unified monotheistic personal being and also millions of beings to the point of pantheism. On top of this Pi throws in Catholicism which hold that YHVH was incarnated as the Messiah Jesus, a divine member of the Trinity, who is the way, the truth and the life and no one come to God the Father except through Him.
In the end, the man who is interested in seeking God does accept “God.” He does this after having heard both versions of Pi’s story; the one about the animals and the one about what the animals represented. Pi asks the man which of the stories he liked and the man said that it was the one about the tiger. Pi tells him that God is that same way.
Thus, the basic message is that God is whatever you think God is. Whatever ideas you invent about God is God. However, digging deeper; the point is that you are God since you get to invent whatever idea of God you like. In other words, even the styled-Atheist in the movie comes away believing in God—which is no God at all as he just made up a story he liked.
Consider that Sam Harris, the celebrity New Atheist, is an Atheist mystic Buddhist (who does not like the terms Atheist mystic or Buddhist). He believes in mystical experiences (and has had them himself due to drug use and meditation) which he claims are merely the stuff of gray-matter and require no supernatural interaction at all.
Alright then, with that in mind (that one can be spiritual and an Atheist) the Life of Pi could very well be an Atheist movie. If you are the sort of Atheist who leans towards spirituality then you can just invent a nice story with a character you call God. Of course, this results in the actual real life God of the Atheist; themselves.
The original rebellion was when lucifer said, “I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14) and the original temptation was when lucifer turned satan (light bearer turning into the adversary) told Eve, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:15). This is exactly that which Atheists do and what the Life of Pi promulgates; you will be like God and actually topple God as you make yourself God by creating God in your image (keep in mind that lucifer also stated, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”—Isaiah 14:13).
By telling, nay demanding, God how God ought to be; you become God’s God and God’s God would be God, the God of Gods.
Therefore, the Life of Pi is not what it seems and discernment draws out its true point; “enlightenment” via walking away from God and reaching self-deification.