I love it when I can see a movie that inspires. I also love seeing a movie with no real indication of what to expect, other than from the trailer. Reading a film's novel before the movie is released is a novel idea indeed. However, the surprise you give yourself when you take a chance on a movie you are not entirely familiar on is even more satisfying. In otherwords, yes, again, I didn't read the novel before the film. Life of Pi was an incredible spectacle, beautiful and recommended for all ages.
Directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), the film tells the story of Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma/Irrfan Khan) and his journey from India to Canada. Pi recounts his tale to writer (Rafe Spall) in an attempt to inspire him. Pi's journey begins when his wealthy Indian family build and eventually sell their zoo. Moving from India, the family boards a freighter with the zoo's animals (intending to sell them in North America), including the Bengal tiger; Richard Parker. The trip takes a turn for the worst when the ship sinks taking with it Pi's family and majority of the animals. Pi survives with Richard Parker on a life raft and the pair try to come to terms with each others coexistence and in the face of Pi's religious outlook.
We saw from the trailers that Life of Pi was going to be a beautiful movie. The film itself does not disappoint. It seems that James Cameron's Avatar crew was onto something when his director of photography dreamt up using lambent colours to create visually stunning pictures. Ang Lee uses the same glow in the dark colours to enhance the ocean voyage.
Irrfan Khan plays adult Pi. While we see little of him throughout, he is a moving actor and an exceptional story teller. Suraj Sharma plays 16 year old Pi. His performance was outstanding and, at some points, heartbreaking. Khan has already started making a name for himself throughout 2012, with a small role in The Amazing Spiderman.
The part of this film I love the most is the narrative. I am always looking for some story to equal that of The Shawshank Redemption; something that provokes a lot of emotion and thought. Life of Pi puts you in a ponderous mood for some time, engineered by a plot based on the combination of science and reason. It delves into why both these are essential to produce a classic narrative. While I am not a person with a great deal of religious outlook, this film not just inspires a small significant belief of God into Spall's character, but my own as well.
This is the first Ang Lee picture I have seen. He executes the film very well and must work with a highly experienced and imaginative photography crew. While visually stunning, the film affords the audience a chance to look outside their own beliefs for a time and enjoy an amazing story. Go see it in 3D for the ocean. Go see it 2D for the story. Either way, get around it.