December 11, 2012

Review: Life Of Pi


Imagine being involved in a ship wreck and being stranded out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but some food and wild animals to keep you company. That's what you'll find in Life of Pi. But is it real?

What To Know

Director: Ang Lee

Writers: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)

Stars: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain

Rating: PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril. Parents Guide

Plot: Based on the best-selling novel, the movie centers around Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zoo keeper. The family decides to move to Canada from Pondicherry, India and hitches a ride on a cargo ship. The ship meets a ferocious storm and sinks, leaving Pi adrift on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker, fighting for survival.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! I asked that question at the end of the introduction because viewers are left wondering which of Pi's stories is actually true. We find Pi in a hospital after being found on the Mexican shore, telling his story to a pair of Japanese investigators trying to get to the bottom of the shipwreck. He tells the investigators the animal story first but they don't believe him.

Then, Pi tells them a more "realistic" and violent story where the animals are replaced by humans on the ship. The beautiful, noble zebra represents the exotic Chinese sailor. The gutless, violent, ugly hyena embodies all the revolting qualities of the greedy, cowardly cook. The maternal orangutan, with her vaguely human body and mannerisms, represents Pi’s own mother. And the tiger is Pi himself.

This forces us to lean more towards the latter story as true and conclude Pi used animals to cope with the events that happened. However, there's no definitive answer in the book nor the film so you're ultimately left to decide for yourself which is true.

Family Friendly? Possibly. This film would be okay for, say, children 10 and up to watch. It also brings a lot of religious aspects and values into play, which could spark great family conversations. 

Surprisingly for this age in movies, there is no swearing in the film. The only thing is Pi is called "pissing" in school because his name, Piscine, sounds very similar. The violence is pretty bad but most of it we don't see.

Should You See It? DEFINITELY! This is a brilliantly-made film and is right up there with my all time favorites. I would recommend seeing it in 3D if you can because that just enhances the entire experience. I believe this is the best 3D film I've ever seen (and I've seen tons). I'll be shocked if this film doesn't win an Oscar this year.

Rating: A+

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