Another "unfilmable" disappointment
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Irfan Khan and Suraj Sharm.
They called it the next Avatar. They said it was an impossible story to adapt. Me? A bit of a snooze if you ask me. Life of Pi is a fictional story about a boy whose family ship full of animals is lost at sea, and his only companion for almost 280 days is a Bengal Tiger. I would have had a better time watching an adaptation of The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor. 2012 offered two films that were considered big risks given their source material, and I have been disappointed by both.
In the first act, our main character Piscine Molitor Patel (so common, it's become cinematic) who is mostly like you and me, being the outcast in a large group at school. One day, he proves his position in the world by excelling in literature, language studies and the one study all brainy Indian's love to use, Math. But culture and beliefs comes first and foremost. There's a moment when Pi meets a young tiger, and wishes to feed him. The tiger's name is Richard Parker. Though his father forbid him to go near the best, Pi believed at that moment that even wild creatures like Richard Parker have a soul and can reason, but experts can give data on how even domesticated animals are far from reasoning. Truth or lie, it's not like I'm going to enter the nearest zoo to have a chat with a Bengal Tiger.
Fast Forward to the future in the present, where Pi and his family's animal ship get sucked into a storm and all is lost at sea. Pi awakens on a lifeboat with an Orangutang, a Hyena, a Zebra and a Bengal Tiger. Doesn't take a genius to know what to expect when you have two wild carnivores and easy prey on a small vessel. Afterall, it's the story about a kid and a wild animal and how they both deal with each other's presence on the boat to survive. Ang Lee's intention was to capitalize on the 3D technology and motion capture sequence along with up to date CGI environments to bring for the story to life that would have probably made for a good excuse not to make it all seem authentic. Let's be honest, a few years ago, it would have all taken place on an actual ocean or at least a giant pool with a real tiger. Thus, I'm always reminded of my professors and how one of them told me that Hollywood won't gamble on "originality", as people continue to complain about, and rather continue the same model. To cut costs, let's make it all in a stage and a few location shots.
Life of Pi seems like another version of Cast Away or any other movie or novel before it with a similar story. All about survival and the only refreshing twist are the elements in the background to complement the plot. Personally, some of it seemed like an acid trip. I'm sure the foreign box-office will soar far more than the Homeland. But, I can't stress enough how boring the movie was, making Ang Lee's Hulk more interesting and oscar worthy, which is ironic considering the position of this movie and the director come February.
Overall, visually acceptable, but nowhere near the "Next Avatar". A good rental, and educational if you want to show a class of elementary schools a lesson in life.
Written by: Bawnian©-Dexeus.