As this column often points out, successful movie makers are good storytellers. And sometimes, there are really good movies about the telling of stories. Based on the popular novel with the same name, 2012's “Life of Pi” delves into a particularly fanciful and mesmerizing story.
Pi Patel, the narrator and central character of this story, indeed had an unorthodox young life. As a middle-aged man (played by Irrfan Khan), he recounts his life story to a young writer (played by Rafe Spall) interested in material for his own work. Patel’s story starts in India, where his father owned a struggling zoo. When they can no longer keep the zoo, the family moves to Canada, with a goal of selling the animals there. They travel by sea, and take the animals with them. One night, a big storm hits and destroys the cargo ship. Pi survives, as do a few animals, including a tiger named Richard Parker. They are in a lifeboat, and Pi must find a way to survive with a tiger.
“Life of Pi” has an excellent screenplay. Pi has a hard time satisfying his father’s expectations and finding his own way. He opts to embrace three religions, a decision that vexes his dad.
The special effects, which won an Academy Award, are amazing. All of the animals look very real, especially the tiger.
The movie is expertly directed by Ang Lee. He makes the film look great and creates many memorable scenes, such as the storm at sea.
“Life of Pi” is well-worth seeing for its great story and visuals.