January 26, 2013

Why It Kicks Ass: the Life of Pi!

Tiger eat Pi or Tiger eat Fish; it's one of the deeper
questions in life!
(No spoilers ahead; it's a guy in a lifeboat with a tiger. Which spoilers are you looking for?)

Okay, about to kick in one of my famous open doors, but Life of Pi truly kicks ass. I went to see it the other day and although I wasn't quite as blown away as I expected to be, I slowly discovered it was just the kind of story I would like to write! And therefore, it kicks ass.

For the ones who have lived in a cellar for the past few months: Life of Pi is the story of a young man (Pi) who leaves India with his family and the animals of his father's zoo to settle in Canada. Around the Mariana Trench (the deepest point on Earth) the ship sinks in a major storm and Pi finds himself in a life boat alone BUT for a dangerous tiger, hilariously called Richard Parker (after the hunter who caught him).

Throughout the next two hours, Pi needs to find a way to co-exist with the tiger. Of course, at first they try to kill each other, but slowly a sort of symbiotic relationship starts to develop between the two. In the meantime all the stuff happens to them that happens to anyone stuck on a raft in the Pacific. Sunburn, hunger, thirst, hopelessness, hallucinations. But also wonderful moments of hope and wonder (the scene with the jellyfish is be-eau-ti-ful!)

Now, I've never read the book before I heard of the movie. I'm not very attuned to all the contemporary, fashionable writers out there. Hell, I just bought two books, published first in 1972. So, you could say, I'm pretty late adaptor. The book is from 2001, written by Canadian writer, Yann Martel and received numerous accolades.

The movie was done by Ang Lee. So we're expecting some pretty amazing pictures and we're not disappointed. The photography is wonderful, the CGI spectacular. Simply amazing.

The actors are devoted and it shows. Suraj Sharma's Pi is wonderful and intense with the sort of boy-ish charm you'd expect from a role like this. Please get this guy an Oscar, really. If only because he was acting in nothingness for two hours (the tiger is CGI).

But what makes the story so great is the fact that carefully interwoven is a deep understanding of religion and why we believe (God, Allah, the numerous gods of Hindoeism).

Cool thing about this movie is, it deals with religion in the beginning of the movie. But then the whole religion-thing drops from view. It is only slightly touched upon at the end and then comes the wonderful conclusion! In one sentence! It's so subtle and elegant, if feels like a slight tap on the shoulder. This makes Little House on the Prairie feel like a run-in with the business end of a sledge hammer!

And one other things I was pleasantly surprised about: this is NOT Old Yeller all over again! The relationship between tiger and man evolves into a natural symbiotic relation, but never a friendship! There's also no overly emotional ending to their relationship. It's all very adult and low-key. Kudos for that! Last thing we want is blubbering 40-year old women all around us, do we?
Even if you don't like religion and are just into a good movie, go see it because of the photography, the CGI and the excellent acting. Believe me, I choose an indie horror flick over a mainstream big budget block buster any day, but this was one that blew me away!

Highly recommended.


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