Life Of Pi | Movie Review
Life of Pi is an ocular adventure. Ang Lee helms this visual masterpiece, an adaptation of Yann Martel’s award-winning novel of the same title. For me, a good film doesn’t have to have a great narrative. In fact, I have a stubborn mind that refuses to let me watch a movie in peace without being reminded that it is all fiction and fabrication. This film is different because it is a story within a story. It starts off with a narration by an older Pi to a writer looking for inspiration.
When Pi says “The next part of the story you will find hard to believe”, I don’t throw away my notion that the film is fiction, but I want to believe in Pi’s story. He narrates the story of a ship being sunk at sea, with the only survivors being himself, an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena and a Bengal tiger, and I realise that there is nothing too fantastical about this story that renders it unbelievable. The tiger doesn’t sidle over to Pi to become his friend, and Pi has to muster his strength and wits to survive the adverse conditions.
I relish picturesque scenes, anything provoking enough to make my thoughts linger, good dialogue, or even a good soundtrack. Life of Pi strikes aces on the first two points, and makes good on the latter two as well. The visuals in this film are astounding. Lee takes the simple canvas of the sea and turns it into a myriad of dream-like images. An overhead shot of the boat and the raft projected as constellations in the universe, while glowing jellyfish act as nebula, is just one of the scenes that left me awe-struck. The colours are at times vivid and whimsical – the menacing but beautiful orange of the tiger against translucent grey waters, the meerkat island swathed in shades of emerald, the impossibly blue skies that seems to merge with the sea and the glowing whale that bursts out of phosphorescent waters… I cannot do justice to these scenes in these few sentences.
Ang Lee’s vision is truly magical, and he uses CGI in a way that captures the grandeur of dreams and imagination. Not once did I think to myself “this is so fake” or “CGI overload!” while I was watching the film (*ahem* Avatar), because these to me are beautiful projections of the imagination, and dreamscapes to traverse. In fact, scenes like these legitimise the act of watching a film in the theatre.
This film was a jolt to my senses, and the ending was like waking up from a dream. A good ending wraps up a good story, and this one bowled me over and altered my perspective. I love ambiguity, and at the end of it all, what is real doesn’t matter. It was a good adventure.
You still have time to catch “Life Of Pi” in cinemas if you have not!
Text by: Kelly Koo
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