“Life Of Pi” is one of those novels that I’ve always intended to read but never got around to for various reasons. I never really knew what it was about, but assumed it had something to do with math and tigers, both equally badass. I usually always intend to read the book before the movie, but this time around I was all “Screw it! I’m never going to read the book, lets just watch the movie.” Unfortunately I kind of spoiled myself when I read the synopsis for the film, which blatantly spoiled the “twist” (if you want to call it that), and made it clear what actually happens.
I mean like story-wise there’s not really much to the film, it’s just set-up to stranding Pi in the ocean with a Tiger where he not only has to battle the elements of surviving on the bare minimum of supplies, while also TRYING NOT TO GET EATEN BY A HUGE TIGER. I’m generally a big fan of survival shows or of castaway “stranded on a desert island” stories. While initially interesting and engaging I kind of got bored over the same repeated happenings that befell the film for much of its middle section. I’m not entirely sure the exact runtime of the “Pi doing random things to survive” scenes, but its got to be an hour plus (Note: I’m terrible at estimating time). I shouldn’t say I was completely bored, because while the lacking of a more complex story took me out of the film a little at times, the visual effects were very, very cool. I think Ang Lee knew this to an extent, where supposedly the book was un-filmable, and to counter-act the relatively stagnant narrative strands he made sure the film was absolutely beautiful to look at and that the effects never took away or cheapened the film, but propped it up as a visual experience. Seeing it in 3D was all well and fun, but I’m sure the film looks just as stunning without having to wear those wacky glasses.
While the film is obviously about faith in god and the presence and power of religion, to me it never felt like it too largely beat you over the head with it. It’s never really a proponent behind propping up one singular religion, but rather it indeed preaches for the harmony of multiple religions, and even more broadly or universally applicable, a peace among all people. Not being religiously inclined myself, I felt that the message of faith doesn’t entirely have to relate solely to religion, but the film also seems to just be sending out a message of general belief in yourself and surroundings, where whether everything is related to a higher power is subject to the individual person and not forced by the collective. Although religion and faith feature prominently in the themes of the film, you never feel like a message of Christianity, Islam or whatever religion is being shoved down your throat, but almost a perseverance of the human race
I really don’t have too much more to say about the film, I enjoyed myself for the most part, besides it sagging for awhile in the middle, but was in awe over the visual effects that Ang Lee and company had showcased. Even though I haven’t read the book, I can’t imagine fans of it not enjoying this, as it seems like the best possible job they could do for something so hard to capture and maintain in a feature film. While the nature of the story left me lacking in parts, the visual aesthetic was enough to keep me around and engrossed.