"Life of Pi" is a famous novel written by Yann Martel in 2001 that had captured the hearts of its reader for many years, and till now it remains a grand masterpiece of 21st century literature. This bestseller has morphed into a passionate global cult as it concerns Pi Patel, an Indian teenager, who had been trapped at sea for 227 days in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger after surviving a terrible shipwreck. It is a wonderful tale with wide-eyed spirituality and magic-realist invention. And just recently, Ang Lee, Oscar-winning director of "Brokeback Mountain", decided to make a film adaptation which turned out to be an instant commercial success due to the amazing use of 3D. When I first walked into the cinema to watch this movie, I just expected it to be another boring movie about someone's survival story in the wild under unfortunate events (even though the novel itself was exceptionally good). However, what I saw literally "blew my mind". Never have I seen in my entire life a movie as thrilling as "Life of Pi". This movie captivated viewers from all around the world, and takes them to a whole new world filled with thrilling adventure and excitement.
Every single sight and sound effect added into this film was simply astounding, especially when you consider the tiger as a digital creation! That puts enormous pressure on Suraj Sharma, who Ang Lee chose to play as middle-aged Pi, since he had to react to a beast that isn't even there. However, his talent helped him overcome this challenge; in the end he appeared in Dubai on the red carpet to launch the film all due to his tremendous efforts. Pi Patel's journey is perilous, from the moment his parents leave Pondicherry, India and board a ship to Canada to start a new life. Pi, who claims to be Hindu, Christian, and Muslim at the same time finds his faith and piety tested when the ship sinks - in a scene of terror - drowning everyone but him, an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra, and a tiger named Richard Parker. Sharing one lifeboat, Pi remembers a very important lesson his father had taught him back home: which is to never treat a wild animal like a human being.
The movie first begins in India where adult Pi (Irrfan Khan) narrates his story to a young Canadian author (Rafe Spall), venturing us through the early stages of his life in French India with expressive eyes to suggest a haunting alternative to what we are seeing. Khan's presence is crucial in this PG-rated film that shields a family audience from the full extent of Pi's torment, thus suiting the targeted demographic. Named Piscine Molitor (after his uncle's favorite Parisian swimming pool), he later adopts the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet as a nickname to avoid getting bullied at school. Pi grows up in his native town, Pondicherry, a sound, colorful, and picturesque city in South India with beautifully ravishing landscapes; just the perfect place for sightseeing! His childhood unfolds in this bedazzling setting, beautifully filmed by Claudio Miranda, inflicted with a hint of exoticism and graced with the presence of several excellent Indian actors - notably Adil Husain and Tabu as Pi's parents. These scenes are rich with the themes of love, friendship, faith, and family.
Lee manages to frame the movie in a unique and creative style, even though he had to work from a fluid script by David Magee (Finding Neverland). For him, this epic was not just a story about life, death, and the universe; it's about cinema too and how, in the modern age, it's interlinked with our innate feelings and emotions. Receiving 3 Golden Globe nominations, "Life of Pi" is a remarkable film (possibly one of the greatest of 2012). Yes, it might be slightly flawed, but it is incredibly ambitious, and absolutely gorgeous to look at. And as Pi says, it is a story that "will make you believe in God".