In 2012, several movies have come and gone, but none were as deep, heartfelt, and genuinely delightful as “Life of Pi.” From the very beginning of the movie it becomes obvious that the story will be told well. It isn’t until the end that the realization of the film’s truly unique qualities dawns.
Pi is an Indian boy whose family owns a zoo. To help secure their future, Pi’s parents decide to move the family to Canada. The cargo ship transporting Pi’s family and their animals is caught in a torrential storm and sinks, stranding Pi alone on a lifeboat with a few animals, which include a Bengal tiger.
The adventure leads Pi to learn how to rely on himself and learn to survive while fighting and then helping the tiger, imaginatively named Richard Parker, survive as well.
The movie is filled with breathtaking cinematography and while it mostly takes place in a vast body of water, it never for a moment gets tiring or boring. Director Ang Lee takes the audience on a fantastic journey that brings out the wide-eyed wonder of discovery and retains the suspense and hope of survival.
The film is a true visual feast for the eyes. A scene involving jelly fish has one fearing that Pi and the tiger will come to be harmed, only to realize that the jelly fish are only passing through their natural habitat. It is then that the scene transforms from one of fear to one of extraordinary wonder at the beauty of the water creatures and the fantastic color and light they bring to the darkness around them. This is only one example. Ang Lee really empowers “Life of Pi” with natural moments. He really has an eye for enhancing every scene with beautiful backdrops and eye catching camera angles that prove he is one of the best contemporary film directors of our time.
The film is also packed with powerful and humble performances by Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan, who play the young and adult versions of Pi respectively. The performances are quiet in their nature and strong in their execution. Even Richard Parker isn’t played down to look like a warm house pet. He’s ferocious and vicious until being in the middle of the ocean begins to affect him, too. It’s then that the bond between Pi and Richard Parker becomes something more: two beings relying on each other to survive.
The tale of Pi and his journey isn’t solely about him and the tiger as the trailers suggest, however. It is layered with so much more than that: discovery, loss, perception, and survival. The ending may leave some questioning the events and happenings in the story, but it comes as an interestingly pleasant surprise and a nice twist to a well told story.
“Life of Pi” is an exquisite piece of story telling and one of the best movies of 2012.