2012 has brought us some wonderfully stunning films, including Moonrise Kingdom, Looper, Frankenweenie, Cloud Atlas and Wreck-It Ralph. One of the most acclaimed filmmakers of our time, Ang Lee, brings us another, a beautifully filmed adaptation of Yann Matel’s bestselling novel Life of Pi, a tale of self-discovery.
In French India, in the town of Pondicherry, a young boy who goes simply by the name of Pi (Ayush Tandon and Suraj Sharma), grows up with a connection to the ocean and animals because of his swimmer father (Adil Hussain) and the local zoo his parents run. Though he is raised in a secular household, Pi becomes fascinated with God and learns about Hinduism and Christianity out of personal curiosity. When Pi and his family must move to Canada, they take all of the zoo animals with them via a Japanese freighter. But a thunderstorm in the middle of the trip causes the ship to tip, and Pi winds up on a lifeboat with only a zebra, orangutan, hyena and tiger.
Auteur Lee took us into 19th century England with Sense and Sensibility (1995), 1972 New England suburbia in The Ice Storm (1997), the Chinese epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), cowboys in love in 1960s Wyoming with Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Japanese-occupied Shanghai and Hong Kong in the espionage thriller Lust, Caution (2007). Life of Pi is one of the rare movies that is actually best experienced in 3-D format. The whole film is aesthetically pleasing, but the scenes on the water are jaw-dropping. Sharma, in his first film, carries the journey that Pi struggles through effortlessly and on point. Pi will make you tear up, yet it will capture your heart.