* Prices may differ from that shown
The Life of Pie was one of the first ever books that I had ever read. I remember that at the time I didn't find myself particularly drawn in by the book and it certainly was not one that I just couldn't put down. I also remember getting to the end of my book and my mum wanted to discuss it with me as she had also read it. My mum loved it and had so many questions about what represented what. In contrast I read the book in a very literal way and was not left with any unanswered questions or curiosity much to my mums surprise. Because I found the book fairly slow and in no way thought provoking I was not particularly keen to watch the film. However, week after week if seeing it in Tesco I finally decided to give it a go. Generally I hate watching the film after reading the book but as it had been 10+ years since reading the book the storyline was far from fresh in my mind so as to not irritate me when things differed which they always do.
Actors: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Ayush Tandon, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain
Directors: Ang Lee
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: 29 April 2013
Run Time: 126 minutes
DVD Synopsis Based on the critically acclaimed, best-selling book, Ang Lee brings one boy’s spectacular journey to the big screen in the book that was considered un-filmable. A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor--a fearsome Bengal tiger.
Awards this Film has Won•Academy Award for Best Diector
•Academy Award for Best Visual Effect
•Academy Award for Best Origonal Music Score
•Academy Award for Best Cinematography
•BAFTA for Cinematography
•Best Picture award by the Las Vegas Film Critics Society
Reviews from Critics
“Epic” ***** Total Film
“Spectacular” ***** The Sun
''this year's most beautiful movie'' **** The Mail Online
“Amazing” ***** Heat
“It has to be seen to be believed” ***** Empire
The opening scene is a huge snake lying around in lush vegetation in the rain. The film then cuts to show other very beautiful and exotic animals seemingly at peace in their natural habitat. Some narration then comes in with talk of a zoo which instantly gives a bit of uncertainty on where you are and who is talking. The scene then cuts to Piscine Molitor Patel who is known as Pi.
The story starts out with Pi telling Canadian writer Yann Martel a bit of background about himself. The first story told is of a his father's friend Francis who is known as an uncle and how he was born with too much liquid in his lungs. The story goes that the doctors swung Frances around by the feet to release the liquid from his lungs. It is said that for this reason the uncle has an extraordinarily large chest and is now an expert swimmer. Pi then describes how he is named after a French swimming pool that the uncle was of a particular fan of. The film gives a little more background into Pi's life before he starts telling the Canadian his main story.
The story of Pi starts after his mother and father decide to move 16 year old Pi along with his brother out of India following the downturn in their zoo business. Pi and his family are on a boat emigrating when they hit a great storm. The storm is so devastating that all occupants must flea in an attempt to save their lives. Pi ends up in the middle of the ocean in a dinghy / life boat with animals from his parents zoo as unexpected and unwanted company. Pi is initially accompanied by a hyena, an Orangutan named Orange Juice, and a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker.
As with the initial story about the man born with liquid in his lungs there is a lot of fantasy with a lot not really making sense. Pi seems to have a great deal of luck along with a great deal of wisdom and survival know-how for a teenage boy. For example, he miraculously has a pencil, notepad and some biscuits with him. Pi also has the knowledge of turning seawater into drinking water and all the equipment with him to do this. I remember when I read the book being confused as to how he fixed up a system to drink the sea water and nothing is any cleared having seen the film.
This film is 126 minutes long and this time went quickly for me. To me the storyline moved at a fairly slow pace but it held my attention throughout. I found it well put together as just as my attention was starting to drift it switched back to modern day with Pi talking to the Canadian writer. The end of the film ends with Pi discussing his story with the Canadian. It is a this point where you feel Pi's passion and sadness. Also, you are made to question what is real, what is representative, and what the meaning behind the fantasy might be. For a film that seems initially quite visually beautiful yet slow paced at the end of this film you can find yourself worn out with questions and intrigue.
The soundtrack matched the film in my opinion very well. The film's music was all composed by Mychael Danna. There is lots of moody type music with various percussion instruments helping to set the mood. For the main part of this film there are only 2 characters and one of them is a tiger there is little dialog within the film. As a result the music within the film is useful in setting the tone and relaying feeling and emotion. I think that without paying attention to the music in this film it would easily go unnoticed because it is not standout but well integrated to the film.
Picture and Special Effects
The imagery of this film is amazing. There are many times in this film that I found myself mesmerised by the artistry in the scenery. I hate watching films where they are really dark and grey/brown. This film has soo many rich colours making it a beautiful film to watch.
I think that my standout scene in this film was a scene when Pi was in his raft and the tiger Richard Parker was in the main dinghy. Pi had woken up and instead of being desperate and alone Pi was whistfull and saw the beauty of where he was. The sea was calm with beautiful oranges and blues reflecting perfectly from the sky off of the ocean.
I think that without modern day technology that this film just wouldn't be possible. For me this is a fantasy based film. The effects to show the animals and how they act on and off of the boat are great. Richard Parker the Bengal Tiger is seen as such a magnificent create with all of the movements seemingly natural.
One of my favourite scenes in the book and in the film is when a swarm of flying fish come along. The flying fish are so completely unexpected to Pi and Richard Parker that they really add a bit of magic and hope. The fish are in abundance and so powerful flying high and fast. Even the waves in the ocean are beautiful and though seemingly natural with the rich colours everything feels special in this film.
For me the special effects are outstanding. It just shows off what technology is able to achieved. However, none of the special effects stand out as not being in keeping with the film. It seems to go from scene to scene effortlessly with continuing amazing effects. I can certainly see why Life of Pi won awards for the effects and cinematography.
Acting & Characters
I find the acting good throughout. Suraj Sharma plays Pi and I feel he has a tough task. For the majority of the film he is on his own with wild animals so there is limited dialog. With this special effects so beautiful and amazing I think it is near impossible for Suraj to shine. However, I feel he does a great job, you feel his feelings throughout the film with no exceptions. Suraj Sharma makes the impossible fantasy feel possible within this film.
For me the supporting cast all do a great job. There is not one point of the film where I find myself thinking about the acting. There are only real snippets of other characters at the beginning and they all portray life in a way that seems realistic.
For me Rafe Spall who plays the Canadian writer Yann Martel seems awkward at first, then cynical, and then suddenly seems to be an understanding phycologist. I find that this is the only real question mark I have on the film and in particular the acting and the characters. However, in the end scenes when Rafe Spall is a bit confusing in his portrayal of the writer actor Irrfan Khan who plays the adult Pi telling his story really wins it back for me. I really feel Irrfan Khan's emotions and passion come through with his story telling and this wins the ending back for me and makes it the intriguing thought provoking film that it is.
Price & Availability
Looking online 08.09.2015 I can see that Life of Pi is currently sold at the following prices. It was also shown on television recently so I don't know but it may be available free on some On Demand services.
Sainsbury's - £2.99
Tesco - £3
Amazon - £3
Asda - £5
WHSmith - £5.99
I really unexpectedly enjoyed this film. I didn't enjoy the book very much, but watching the film it really is captivating. For me the acting is really well done, the soundtrack fits very nicely. But, the real winner is the picture and the special effects. I feel that the story cannot actually be that good because in book format I found it boring, whereas, in film format it is brilliant. Watching this film is to me like watching a lovely picture moving it is so vibrant and beautiful. Although the basic story behind the film is not enough for me, when matched with such good cinematography it becomes brilliant, interesting and intriguing.
This DVD is available at an incredibly cheap price and I recommend that it you have not watched it to go and pick it up for just a few pounds.
I read the award winning novel 'Life of Pi' by Yann Martel many years ago, it took me a while to get round to watching the film, which was also highly acclaimed.
We meet Pi Patel living in Canada and talking to a writer about his story. We then see his story in flashback, starting with him growing up in a Zoo in Pondicherry, India. When the zoo closes some of the animals are sold and shipped overseas, along with the family who are moving to Canada. The ship sinks and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat with a zebra with a broken leg, an aggressive hyena and a sweet, gentle orang-utan. Oh, and Richard Parker. Who is a male Bengal tiger. What could possibly go wrong?!
It isn't much of a spoiler to say that sooner rather than later it is just Pi and Richard Parker in the boat. Pi needs to find away to keep them both alive until they can be rescued. You would think that a film that is mainly a boy and a tiger on a boat (or makeshift raft alongside boat to allow for Richard Parker's need for personal space no doubt) would be a bit dull, but actually it is quite interesting and watchable.
The film, directed by Ang Lee, is made with a lot of CGI (and a few real tigers) but at very few times do you think the tiger doesn't look real.
Cast wise, there are a few actors you will recognise, but mostly is supporting roles. Suraj Sharma plays the young Pi, and did an excellent job when you consider he dia most of his scenes alone in a boat, in a studio with a green screen I suspect (he never met any of the tigers).
I do recommend giving this film a watch.
People had been telling me for ages how amazing they thought the book was that the film is based upon. Even with these glowing recommendations from friends and family there was just something about the book which never appealed to me so I downloaded it for my kindle but never did get around to reading it. It was the same with the film version, I had seen all the ads for it when it was at the cinema but again it just didn't appeal. It was only one rainy Sunday afternoon when I was at a loose end and this was showing on one of the SKY movie channels that I thought I would give it a go and I have to say that I am glad I did as I found it to be hugely enjoyable and a perfect Sunday afternoon film.
The film starts in Canada with a writer interviewing an Indian man having heard that he has a pretty amazing story to tell. PI lives in Canada after having moved there as a young man from India and begins to recount his story to the writer which starts with his childhood and then moves on to a ship wreck and his story of survival on the open seas in a raft with only a Bengal tiger for company.
The beginning of the film with Pi recounting his childhood growing up on a zoo in India is enjoyable and rather sweet. The main part of the movie however is Pi alone on a raft with a Bengal tiger trying to survive after being ship wrecked. I think this is what put me off originally as I had thought it sounded all a bit silly but it wasn't anything like that thanks in the main part to both the original story and Ang Lee's direction.
The movie is absolutely stunning and one of the most beautiful that I have ever had the pleasure to watch. The colours are all vibrant on screen and the scenery is beautiful. It really is a feast for the eyes. I watched it in HD and everything just popped and looked lush and gorgeous.
The film plays like a bit of a fairytale and of course knowing that Pi survived as he was telling the story in the future to the writer meant that I never got the sense of peril from him being ship wrecked but I was fascinated the entire movie to see where it was going.
The acting was all superb but the main praise has to go to Suraj Sharma who played the young Pi and his interaction with the tiger (who I assume was CGI for the most part) was wonderful.
Life of Pi plays like a fairytale but one with real heart and emotion.I was left so moved at the end which doesn't happen often with films and it stayed with me long after watching it.For me it was excellent and a film that I would highly recommend.
It has been a while since I read Yann Martel's Life of Pi, a book that makes you think about faith and the truth; that really makes you question what exactly you believe in. It questions the boundaries we set where religion is concerned, but is on the face of it is a radical tale of survival. I also wondered how it would be turned into a film - Ang Lee answered that one loud and clearly.
When a Canadian writer asks him to tell his story, Piscine 'Pi' Patel begins the radical tale of a young man's survival against all odds. Staying relatively true to the book, there is a gentle build up of characters as the young Pi battles with his religious beliefs and the attention of girls. His parents own a zoo, and when they decide they need to move abroad the film is already well under way. Lee delays the real meat of the story for a while, but as storms hit and the ship the Patels and their animals are travelling on, Pi soon finds himself all alone at sea in a rescue boat, with the exception of a motley crew of animals, including the zoo's star attraction, a fully grown Bengal tiger...
The story makes you think. It's also a brilliant if somewhat far fetched tale of one man's survival across the ocean - that he is telling the story means we know he survives, and while you may think this spoils it somehow, it honestly doesn't. If anything, eventual survival is hardly important. What matters is that man and beast learn to co-exist. Pi repeatedly states that without the tiger, named Richard Parker, he would almost certainly have died. There are some ridiculous and completely far fetched moments in the film, but nearly everything is sufficiently explained, and I felt it a joy to watch for the most part.
I definitely think I was at an advantage having read the book first. Knowing the gems in the tale that were to come, I was also in complete anticipation to see how Ang Lee had done things visually. All I knew is that the special effects were Oscar worthy and his direction equally so. I received the 3D version for my birthday, and so this was what my eldest son and I watched. He pretty soon ditched the 3D glasses, and I had to keep rewinding it and getting him to put them back on as some of the shots were vintage Lee, phenomenal scenes filmed at slower speed and with haunting audio and visuals. The 3D effects throughout were actually very well done, although some of those seemed to come at less important moments in the film and I wondered whether this was necessary.
Concepts of behaviourism are considered throughout the film, and the personification of the animals grows gradually as Pi and Richard face off against each other, survival clearly at the forefront of each other's thoughts. There are moments of camaradery, but generally there are aggressive scenes where they posture to gain the upper hand. The tale has just enough to make it feasible, and the way the tiger is shown on screen is phenomenal. I found out afterwards that it's largely digital, but the whole thing looks so real I actually spent the film wondering how they managed to film a tiger doing these motions, or how they manipulated a tiger's movements digitally once filmed.
Really, there are moments like this throughout the film, and the self-questioning of religion takes a second seat. Pi's character tries to draw on religion for strength all the way through, and this is where the tussle with belief stems from at the beginning, and also why it's important to the film. There are moments of fierce passion, some of complete disinterest, some of complete calm, some of absolute panic. Through it all, the survival instinct shines brightest of all.
It's a really good film. I loved how they took the book toe the screen, and it's worth watching just for the visuals alone. The film leaves you with a message ringing in your head, although the interpretation of that message will be down to the individual watcher. Highly recommended.
Life of Pi was heavily advertised in the run up to last Christmas when it was out in the cinema. We chose to watch other films rather than this at that time, and caught this more recently when it became available on blinkbox for rental.
The 2012 film is based upon a book, and all I knew about this film was based upon what I had seen in the trailer for the film. I knew it was about a boy and a tiger in a boat, and that was about it. I wasn't sure even if I wanted to watch it, but I had read a few reviews saying it was good, so I thought I would give it a shot.
The story follows the life of an Indian boy, Piscine Patel - known as Pi. We are told this story from the perspective of the adult Pi now living in Canada, so it is obvious that it doesn't end when the tiger has a tasty snack. This provided some motivation to watch to see just how Pi manages to outwit a tiger.
The story starts in India. Pi's family own a zoo, whose star attraction is a Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. Pi has always been fascinated by the tiger, though from a young age his father has taught him to keep a respectful distance from the animal.
Pi lives a fairly normal life - he goes to school, he falls in love. His family are forced into selling the Zoo and they decide to travel with the remaining animals over to Canada for a fresh start. Only, life on the boat is very difficult. A storm causes the boat he is on to capsize, and he finds himself on his own in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Only, he is not alone, he is sharing his life boat with the tiger Richard Parker.
What follows is Pi's extraordinary journey until he finds himself on dry land again. How can he survive with limited rations when he is sharing a small space with a large hungry tiger?
This film is one of those that I was pretty glad to watch, but I am not sure how well I enjoyed it. I think you need to suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy it, as the story is so far fetched it is impossible to believe.
The storyline was a bit mediocre when set in India - it didn't really improve much throughout the film for me. None of the cast were known to me. Most screen time is given to Pi as a 16 year old boy, played by Suraj Sharma who has not been in anything before this film. His acting is excellent and he conveys well the emotion felt during an adventure such as this.
The adult Pi is played by Irrfan Kahn - a name in Bollywood, if not Hollywood. He doesn't get much screen time really, so his acting skills are not really given much to test them. The rest of the cast get even less chance to shine from their brief appearances. A lot are killed off when the boat sinks.
The film is incredibly well directed and shot. Ang Lee has definitely put a bit of a stamp on it with his direction. I felt the visual effects such as seeing glowing jellyfish in the sea, and a whale jumping over the boat were very much his style as time seemed to slow down while watching these sequences. There were lots of very pretty moments in this film that you knew had been designed to be shown on a cinema screen in 3D, but these still came off quite breathtakingly when shown on a good quality screen in the home environment.
Every scene with the tiger in was incredibly powerful - watching this animal and seeing how it reacted, and seeing the almost humanised look as if it had a soul.
I did start to get a little bored though as the film went on - it has a really long run time of 127 minutes, and a lot of this is set on a little boat with just the boy and the tiger. I felt like I just wanted something more believable to happen.
From the point of view of watching something stunning I would definitely recommend you watch this at least once in life. It falls into the category of film I call as Oscar worthy. This film won 4 oscars out of the 11 it was nominated for, including best director and best visual effects. Personally, I struggle to enjoy films that have won oscars - I can see the reason why they are nominated, but they are not necessarily the type of film that I enjoy to watch.
Here, there is nothing wrong with the film, just it is a bit too slowly paced for my liking, and lacking in action to keep me engaged with the film. However, I am certainly glad that I did experience it at least once for some of the scenes in the film which were truly art.
I therefore give this three stars - its ok, but I wouldn't rush to watch this again, though I do think I would recommend others to watch it on a good tv screen at the very least. I do wonder if I would rate differently again if watching these visual effects through a 3D screen however, as this is a film that deserves showing in that manner.
I saw a trailer for Life of Pi when I went to watch Skyfall at the cinema last year and was immediately drawn in, although I never got around to going to see it. After picking up the ebook cheaply and really enjoying the book, it was only a matter of time before I got round to watching the DVD. Finally last night I spotted it in Tesco for £7 so decided that would be last night's viewing sorted. I absolutely loved it.
The film takes it's time to set the scene which was really cleverly done, having read the book first I thought that maybe the film would rush along to get to the 'main event' of the story. But through the adult Pi talking his recollections through with a writer, it takes us back to Pi's childhood and family surroundings in India to give us a clear picture of how he came to have his values and spirit. Pi tells the writer that his story will make him believe in God, so it's clear than an epic tale is on its way...
I'm not giving anything away by saying that the main part of the story concerns Pi being cast away following a shipwreck, accompanied only by a Bengal tiger by the name of Richard Parker. The two of them need to get along in order to survive if they are ever going to return to civilisation, or the wild, respectively.
The film lasts for over two hours, but I never found myself wishing it away, it kept both my partner and I completely captivated throughout. It's rare that we sit silently through a DVD, but that was the case last night.
During the early part of the film and even in some of the later times there are nice moments of humour and as it progresses the peril and desperation of Pi's situation I found that all the emotions were really cleverly portrayed. Surely it would be impossible to watch the film without empathising completely with Pi, and rooting for him and Richard Parker.
A huge part of this film is down to the effects and the portrayal of the size, power and nature of the animals and sealife who feature. I'm no expert or enthusiast in this department - we don't watch an awful lot of movies, but I thought they were absolutely brilliant. Richard Parker's power and gradual deterioration was superbly brought to the screen. Thinking of Richard Parker mainly as an animation is something my mind can't really deal with - he was too real! I believe that they did use some footage of a real tiger, but to think that such a big chunk of the film was digitally created really does amaze me.
Some of the other scenes were more fantasy-led and there were incredible colours and images throughout the film. I can imagine the 3D version of the film in the cinema would have been truly mind-blowing.
I found some moments of the film really emotional, even though you know that Pi survives, bearing in mind we see the adult Pi at the start of the film - not to mention that I had already read the book! This represents a great ability to portray the emotion from the actor I think.
A story that will make you believe in God?
The ending was also very well done, although it did challenge my perception of the ending from when I had read the book. I thought it was a magical film and one I'm sure I'll watch again at some point. It's a film that will appeal to all ages and with it's PG certificate it's a family film I would really recommend.
Will it make you believe in God? Probably not, but it will definitely make you think, and undoubtedly leave you captivated by Pi and his own incredible faith which kept him going throughout the ordeal/adventure.
While I was browsing through the films available on box office I saw this available to rent for £3.49 so decided to buy as wanted to watch it since came out in the cinema. It is a long film and on for 126 minutes (2hrs 6mins)
I ordered a take away as a treat well baby slept and curled up with partner on couch to watch. Started off a bit slowly and it didn't really change so I was a bit gutted after first 30mins but decided to stick with it. We were expecting a film similar standards to Avatar, inception etc.
The film starts of with Piscine Patel in the present day telling the story of when he lived in India with his family running a zoo. His name got shortened to Pi after he got bullied for sounding like pissing. This was boring but understandable so you can know a bit about his life.
The first 30mins shows you his life in India and meeting a girl however his family decide to move to Canada with the animals so they can sell them on.
They board a Japanese ship to go over and during the journey over there is a storm and Pi goes to explore the deck to experience the storm. However the ship sinks and only Pi, Orange Juice the orang-utan, hyena, Zebra and Richard Parker, the adult Bengal tiger.
We then follow how Pi survives with the animals at sea (will not go into it as don't want to spoil it)
The film had amazing graphics and certain scenes would of looked brilliant in 3D on the big screen.
The ending of the film was very disappointing and expected a lot more from the trailers and reviews id read.
I am glad I only rented this and did not buy the dvd as I would of wasted a lot more money.
I will not watch again unless I wanted something on to fall asleep
Overall I would give it 2 out of 5 stars just for graphics but the story was boring and long winded
Life Of Pie is the brand new film by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
Though I must admit I first watched this film without knowing anything about it. So I was thrown into the deep end at the very start.
The first hour of the movie tells the backstory of our main character, Pi. It tells the story of his family life, his different religion beliefs & how he got the name Pi. I must admit the beginning of the story can feel slightly long & tenuous to say the least. This, one of the only bad points about the movie.
Once we get past the history of Pi, things start to get more interesting and the story changes dramatically.
Without giving too much away, you won't see any other film like this at the moment. I was pretty much blown away by everything. From the special effects, to the emotional story of Pi and a Tiger.
Visually, this is extraordinary. Some of it outrageous, but believable at the same time. If you loved the effects and visuals of Avatar, then you'll love this ten times as much.
I've never felt so much emotion at the end of a movie. Great story. Just don't let the slow start put you off the movie.
Overall, Life Of Pie is a masterpiece and one of the best films of the last five years. The cast are pretty much unknowns but they make the world around them seem very believable.
Life of Pi is a film released to cinema in 2012. It is directed by Ang Lee, who was brought up as a Buddhist (Source Wikipedia), who has had several diverse films such as "Sense and Sensibility" and "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon". In his short catalogue of films he has covered every genre from Drama to Action and everything in Between. Life of Pi genre wise is hard to class with the best description I could give it is that it's a philosophical fantasy drama but that's a rather ungainly way to classify things, perhaps apt though as life itself can be rather ungainly and nigh impossible to put in a box.
The story of the Life of Pi is told using various methods, the principle one being an adult Pi reminiscing on his life as a young boy and young man; he does so as he is talking over a cup of tea to a young man who is interested to know the story of his life. The story he weaves is outlined below.
Pi begins by introducing us to the protagonist, himself, Piscine Patel a young boy in India with an eccentric uncle, whom loves swimming and strange clothes. He decides to change his name to Pi (played by Suraj Sharma at age 16 and Irrfan Khan as an adult) as his classmates call him "Pissing" Patel due to the homophonic nature of the French word for swimming pool "Piscine", which he is named after, and the word to pee "piss" which is obviously very amusing for young tweens and teens.
Early on in the story the nature of Pi's personality is quickly apparent, we see a character who is very sensitive about nature and whom is very intellectual. He is raised a Hindu by his mother (played by Tabassum Hashimi) but his father (played by Adil Hussain) is militantly secularist and "rational" to the point of being "irrational". His mum explains this at one point where she says, paraphrasing "science can explain the external, what's out there, but it cannot explain the internal, what's in the heart".
There is tension in the film between father and son, and mother and husband, for most of the film there is a titanic battle of wits between one way of viewing the world, as emotional and mysterious, and another as being robotic, predictive, and absolutely determinable and knowable; and never the twain shall meet or shall they?
As the film progresses we see Pi become first a dual Hindu and Catholic and next a tripe religionist when he becomes a Muslim, all the time his meal time rituals of prayer get a little longer, much to his father's annoyance. His conversion to Islam seems to most annoy his father perhaps even showing that although his father is atheist that some extra cultural tension still exists between atheists brought up as Hindu's and Muslims.
Pi falls for a girl at a Hindu dance class, where he spots that she is not following the same routine as the others; that she has added embellishments which seem aimed at him. Just as the precocious love between Pi and the beautiful, nubile girl is developing Pi find's out that his family have plans to move to Canada because they are not making a decent living off of the Zoo Pi's farther owns.
They then board a gigantic ship called "Tsistsum", and unlike one "professional" film critic who pondered why this film had "random" Japanese people in it, the name of the ship gives it away. Also on board the ship are all the various animals Pi's Father owns, including the tiger called "Mr Parker". Whilst at sea there is a massive storm which shows of the films stunning visuals and atmospheric music which causes the audience to feel rather on edge.
Pi tells us that the ship sinks and he is left stranded on a boat all alone, or so he thinks, he discovers a tiger on board, whom we assume is Mr Parker although Pi's Father did have other tigers on board the ship when it capsized. Not only is there a Bengal Tiger on board the ship there is also an Orangutan, an injured Zebra and a Hyena.
Much of the film then deals with Pi out at sea, and how he manages to Survive on Board with the animals and most especially the threatening Bengal Tiger. When at sea there are lovely scenes of Pi looking at shimmering, shinning jelly fish, scenes with Pi questioning God. Why he has left him to be on his own in the middle of a storm with no food and a tiger to feed?
There are humorous scenes where he scatters from the tiger as he attempts to train it using fish and a whistle. We also, significantly see a scene where he jots down notes in a journal and reads a survival manual. The film manages to make us fear for Pi's safety early on even though we know he must be ok as he is narrating the story to us, I was still on the edge of my seat thinking the tiger was going to eat him!
Eventually, when Pi is exhausted and losing strength, he wakes up on a beach. Pi is found by some Mexican men and though he is relived to be found he is worried about where Richard Parker has gone, he looks around and can't find him anywhere then he spots him looking at him before he wanders off into the jungle. On seeing Richard Parker fail to acknowledge him he breaks down weeping because he feels Richard Parker has abandoned him, that their time together meant nothing to him, mostly it's the lack of getting to say a proper farewell that hurts the most.
The movie cuts to a scene where Pi is in hospital and is being interviewed by some insurance men who want to know what happened to the boat he tells them the story of the tiger, the fish, the magical floating island, and they find it all too much to take, so he tells an alternative, less fantastical and much more dark story, which they also do not like hearing and they tell him that they will go with the first story.
The viewer is not told which story is really true or even if somehow elements of both stories are true. We do not know what Richard Parker would have done if his dad had not saved his son when Pi was trying to bond with it prior to setting sail to Canada.
~~~What's in a name?~~~
The name "Pi" is significant because it is a Greek letter used to represent an irrational number which appears many time in nature from the result of the circumference of a circle divided by its radius, to the average "meandering ratio" of rivers also approaches pi and the inclusion of the variable Pi in Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (source: http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2761​-what-makes-pi-special.html). In the context of the film it is very appropriate as was described in the plot section and will be further exemplified and explored in the character development section. Pi is a philosophical thinker and intellectual and he takes the philosophical view that the ubiquitous nature of Pi is part of some deeper, magical, truth about the nature of reality, and not simply random, absurdist, chance as some philosophisers will assert.
As mentioned earlier the film is highly philosophical, emotional and psychological. It ponders questions of such universal and unresolvable nature as what it is to be human and is the cosmos possible to reduce to a series of particles and random total entropy increases which somehow lead to paradoxical systems of ever more order in the macro and micro scale or is it only apparently random to the observer; and only measurable through a distorted lens, such that true reality is not measurable, and somewhat imperceptible.
The father believes himself to be a rationalist and thinks his son and wife are misguided for taking a different philosophical take on the nature of life where they believe the external to be of worth but so too do they believe the internal to be of value and they see it as a different aspect of reality than that which is tangible and knowable. Although for much of the film we are portrayed with a very hard Father figure who is in conflict with his son and his wife as the film develops we see occasions where he temporarily disposes of his almost robotic like personality in order to help his family. He shows that intangible quality he would regard as not existing; love.
Such an occasion in this film, which is a very poignant moment in the flim, is where Pi is looking into the eyes of a tigers his father owns called Mr Parker and he seems to be bonding with it, as he feels the tiger has a soul, when his father deeply concerned for his son's well-being rushes in and shows his son the tiger eating a goat to hammer his point home about animals acting purely out of instinct. And yet whilst this is shown to be correct on one occasion, it was also not proven to be false in the prior occasion as the film leaves you wondering what if the father had not rushed into "save" his son.
It does show that despite his father's attempt to deal purely in rationalism, beneath it all there is still a human who loves his son and wife very dearly and who just wants what he sees as best for them and who is acting on emotions not rationalism as if he was truly rationalist he would not want to save people from their supposed "irrationality", because in many absolute rationalists world such feelings as love are all just chemical illusions and there is no distinction between the external and internal, between observation of reality and its absolute nature.
The Father also shows such endearing human qualities of love and affection in the scene where he stands up to the cooks derogatory comments about his son and his wife. These help to form more of a bond between the audience and Pi's Father as well as acting as a self-expose of the flaws of absolute rationalism, in an absolute rationalists world there is no place for human emotions and empathy as such things are not "real".
As for Pi he goes from being an idealistic religionist believing in a magical universe and unknowable cosmos to a pragmatic religionist whom sees a darker side to the world and the cosmos and to his own nature. His faith is undoubtedly questioned throughout his ordeal on the boat yet he says, in answer to the man he is having a conversation with in the film asking him if he has any doubts, "Oh plenty, on every floor. Doubt is useful; it keeps faith a living thing. After all you cannot know the strength of your faith until it is tested".
One point or two in the film which I did feel needed more flesh to the meat of the characters where the characters of the brothers and uncle. Personally I did not really fully get the uncles purpose in the film other than to let us know why Pi was named Piscine and what kind of man his uncle was beyond the superficial. As for his brothers they looked fairly similar to Pi and seemed to often joke at his expense however their characters felt a little hollow and hard to identify with.
~~~Graphics and Score~~~
The film is visually stunning, especially when Pi is shipwrecked on the boat with the Bengal Tiger, Mr Parker. We see luminescent jellyfish, flying fish, a massive shark (or is it a whale? I'm not down on my wildlife) and a magical, mystical starry sky which looks just iridescent and a daytime sky which also looks very pretty and inviting. I watched it in 3d and it was a magnificent visual feat, which really draws the viewer in and takes them to a magical, magnificent, majestic world and what's more it paints a fantasy landscape really well whilst feeling so real you can touch it and being just ever so slightly beyond human experience that you can reach out and say "yeah this could definitely happen".
It's a bit like faith itself, to those people who have faith, it is often described as beginning with a small step into the unknown and so to do the magical visuals take the viewer into a small step into the unknown yet are not so overblown such as to become off putting or unrealistic. There are points in the film where the sky actually looks like an eye, and rays come down as if influenced by the divine itself.
The music is just superb, it fits the given scene's very well with tense scene's having dark foreboding music and sentimental scenes having emotional, profound, heart lifting music, indeed the music adds tremendously to a film which was already a ferocious assault on the sense and it even won awards, apparently, for best score 2012 (source Wikipedia). It's not hard to see why, to be honest!
~~~My take on the meaning of the film and its enjoyment factor~~~
This was a film I just loved; I loved the early, slow build-up of the film and the later rush of adventure that was injected almost out of nowhere. I really identified with the lead character Pi as I saw a lot of myself in him to be honest. The early scenes had a very French cinema vibe to them which was nice and quirky. I found myself laughing at him being called "Piscine" and likewise with the antics of him and his fellow pupil's at school and the funny scenes with the tiger as he tries to train it.
I found myself being drawn in by the brief love story and hoping he succeeds and intrigued by the ideological clashes between him and his father and enjoying a portrayal where religion is not stereotyped as being a source of division and where the secularists are not stereotyped as being somehow more compassionate and necessary for humanity than religionists as both have their flaws and positives. I however especially liked the message of the film, which to me was vaguely "you need both science and emotion, prediction and hope to live in a peaceful, enlightened world."
##########Spoiler, Only Read if you have seen the film##########
The twist in the film really challenges you and my take is that both stories are true, instead of the simplistic assumption that the second story was reality and the first story sheer fantasy. The first story tells us how one can psychologically change when put under great stress and is a look at the inward emotions of Pi, the second story is a look at the outward actions of Pi. So really the story is more a metaphor for Pi's emotions, in my view, than it is a straight allegory of the actual events. Yes the actual events happened but so to do did various changes in Pi's emotional and psychological state.
#####################End Of Spoiler#####################
All throughout the film there are loose ends and open ended questions, does Pi marry his girlfriend? How true is either story? What is it to be human? Is the film against or for religion or spiritualism? What was his uncle really like deep down?
The film very much feels like it gives validity to those religions or logic systems who state "you create your own reality" as with this film the viewer's perception of the film is key and I have seen everything from people who take the film as promotion of religion to those who think it belittles it and these two views are held by people on either side of the argument; who think it either promotes or belittles there stance.
My own take is far more inconclusive, and perhaps more realistic, that is it is quite neutral on religion with possibly it being slightly pro spiritualism and certainly at no point does the director disparage nor aggressively promote religious belief. In a world full of films with blatant propaganda messages for or against a given subject, it's nice to have an open minded, tolerant film which asks the person to challenge themselves, why is it they believe in a god or why is it they are so sure one can't exist? I feel such an unresolved tale is very much like the nature of the subjects the film explores, unresolved and very likely unresolvable. As adult Pi say's "Why does it have to have any meaning?"
Life of Pi is a beautifully crafted film with good humour, magical, engrossing visuals and a fantasy world that feels so real and plausible you could touch it. Though the impressive CGI and stirring sound track are elegant and imposing elements of this film, the dialogue and relationships between characters is just as impressive and the acting is of a high standard. The most enjoyable part, for me, is the life at sea part which really makes the film although the early character development sets the scene for said adventure brilliantly.
It is a film which captures the imagination of childhood for me as Pi as a child is very funny and bursts with personality yet by the time he is much older as an adult this has died down somewhat yet is still there more subtly.
I'd thoroughly recommend this film as it takes you into a world full of wonder, beauty and hope yet it is also incredibly dark, dramatic and tragic. It's like life itself, great yet depressing, beautiful yet horrific. The film offers no easy, clear or tripe answers, as like life itself the nature of the subject material this film ponders is ungainly, challenging and almost impossible to make conform to one way of viewing and interpreting things. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this film is its quite admiration of the unknowable which reflects very much the Buddhist philosophy that director Ang Lee was brought up with.
If you want a film with stunning visuals, characters you can relate to, and with a serious, deep story behind it, then this is one I really, really can't emphasise enough that you should go to see this film. For me it's a five star master piece, and I loved nearly everything about it.
I paid seven pounds for it in my local 3d cinema and found the price to be well worth what I saw. If you can get it on DVD or Blue Ray for less than 10 pounds I'd say go for it!
This Review also appears on Ciao under my "newprideexperiadj2" user name
Film only review :)
My fiancé saw this film with some of his friends from work last year during the Christmas period and said that it was brilliant and he really enjoyed it. We were planning to go and see it together more recently but when our son was ill we decided not to go after all.
Recently while I was browsing through the films available on my television package I saw that it had been added onto there and for around £3.99 for 48 hour rental I thought it'd definitely be worth watching. Ben decided that he wasn't bothered about watching the film again and as its quite a long one (over 2 hours) I was understanding of this, so I ended up watching it with two of my friends who hadn't seen it before.
We were all very excited and we turned off the lights, turned up the volume and curled up on the sofa, expecting to be amazed. Unfortunately the amazement never came, instead boredom. The film is NOT what I was expecting at all! This is going to sound silly for people who have seen it, but I was expecting it to be almost like Avatar - heavily CGI'd, set in a mythical place etc. That being said though I'd only seen the trailers and hadn't bothered to read the plot or any reviews.
My fiancé describes the film as philosophical, but apart from a few small scenes I found it boring. The film is about a man (Pi) who grew up in India with his older brother, mum and dad and his parents bought a zoo. The film follows him through his childhood for a good length of time which had some attempted humour in there but I didn't find any of it funny. I did like the scene with the lion & the goat but I found the whole maths class/girlfriend etc scenes quite unnesecary.
That being said, I can understand why the scenes were there - so that we could obviously get to know Pi's personality and obviously it would be even more boring if the whole film was just set at sea. The film finally starts to gee up a little when Pi's mother and father decide that the family should move to Canada and sell the zoo animals. They go onto a boat (which for some reason is full of Japanese fishermen) and take the animals with them. I liked the scene where Pi was asking his dad why he was giving the animals sedatives and it showed his caring side.
The fact that Pi is really caring (he describes him self as a 'skinny vegetarian boy') makes him really likeable and I had sympathy for him when things started to go wrong. He ends up stranded in a life boat with Orange Juice the orangatan, a hyena and a zebra. Oh.. and Richard Parker, the adult Bengal tiger. Richard Parker was captured as a cub by a hunter. The hunter named him thirsty, but the paper work got mixed up so the tiger was sent off with the information about the hunter and the name stuck. Before long only Richard Parker and Pi remain on the boat, and this is where I'll end my description of the plot as I don't want to spoil it for anyone!
The CGI in this film is good - there are some stunning, magical scenes and the picture is really clear, however at times things didn't look very realistic at all, specifically the meerkats in the island scene (in my opinion). I also found the accent of the main character and his family a little hard to understand at times. The acting was alright, but nothing outstanding which might sound a bit harsh but it is just my opinion.The ending was a shocker, and upon re-watching a certain scene I understood and felt really emotional. The ending was the best bit for me (and the scenes with the gorgeous looking author character were pretty nice too!) and I wouldn't watch it again as I think I'd die of boredom!
Three out of five stars.
Life of Pi is based on the book with the same name published in 2001. I have not yet read the book but after watching the movie in the cinema I was inspired to order the book online within 24 hours! I remember seeing it around in bookshops a while ago but somehow I never managed to get round to reading it.
In this movie, we see Pi tell us a story - in the present day Pi is a grown man, but the story he tells begins from when he was a boy. He takes us back to the time when he, Piscine Patel, lived with his family in the southern city of Pondicherry in India. He nicknamed and shortened Piscine to 'Pi' after being taunted at school for his name sounding like 'pissing'. During this time we also see how Pi went through a period of exploring different religions and how his father was against religion. I really felt that this helped to build Pi as a strong character, particularly as this was also a time when Pi was seen to be getting bullied and teased as school because of his name. In the movie, we see how Pi copes with this and fights back by showing everyone he is much more than a name to be made fun of.
Pi's family are zoo-keepers and around 20 min in to the movie, his father decides to sell up and move to Canada for financial reasons. They take the animals with them as they will be able to sell them once they arrive in Canada. They travel via a Japanese freighter ship but things go devastatingly wrong and the ship sinks during a stormy night. Pi somehow manages to get on to a tiny life boat, but he is not alone. Some of the zoo animals have also made it on to the life boat including a zebra and an adult Bengal tiger. What follows is a magical story of Pi's survival. He is truly lost at sea and with a dangerous hungry tiger with him!
The main part of the movie is the story of how Pi manages to survive at sea and I won't say much more because I don't want to ruin it for anyone. But I will say that in my opinion this was a fabulous movie. I saw it in 3D and although I think around more than half is not 3D, the bits of the film that are 3D are really beautiful. There are a lot of animals in the movie and they are captured in a very beautiful and visually pleasing way. In addition, a lot of the time spent at sea is stunning. As a lot of the movie has animals in it much of the 'acting' by the animals is done using special effects and I must say I was very impressed as I could hardly tell the difference between what was real and what was not.
In conclusion I would say I really enjoyed this film. It's definitely one not to miss - it really is as good as everyone says it is!
Having read the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Yann Martel, I was eagerly anticipating the film's release when it was announced. Directed by the notorious Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain), the movie is already deemed a 'visual masterpiece' and highly tipped to win a few Oscars at the upcoming awards season.
Piscine Patel (Pi for short) grew up in a zoo in India and at a young age is introduced to Hinduism. Curious about other religions, Pi soon finds God in the form of Christ and Allah... but when he truly experiences God is on his epic journey of survival on board a boat with a Bengal Tiger (called Richard Parker) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Pi's father decides to sell the zoo and move to Canada to make a better life for Pi and his brother Ravi, so taking the animals with them and aboard a Japanese freight ship they go; Pi leaving his first love behind. During a tropical storm, the ship is wrecked and Pi is the sole survivor of the wreck, in a lifeboat with an injured zebra.
After rescuing a mother chimpanzee as well as Richard Parker, a hyena emerges from below the canvas of the boat and Pi finds himself experiencing the realities of the food chain. Amidst this strange predicament, Pi is eager to survive and through determination, strong will and a bit of faith, he discovers how to share a boat with a Bengal Tiger, all the while experiencing the beauty, the amazingness and the treasures of the ocean.
The introduction to the movie was visually spectacular, showing the colourful and bright India and an array of animals, which were delightful to watch- capturing our attention right from the start. With a rather long build up to when Pi actually gets on the boat, the movie follows the layout of the book pretty accurately both in terms of plot, depth and detail. For those who haven't read the book, this background may seem a bit of a bore and you're eager to see the action, but it definitely builds up the character of Pi, essential to reaping the rewards of the movie to the full extent.
The mood of the movie is directly related to the stunning visuals, which is perhaps a strong point for the film. Darkness descends as the boat wrecks and there is a strong sense of loss, despair and loneliness. This can also be seen in the motion of the sea, as Pi experiences so many delights but also trials.
One of my favourite scenes has to be the luminescent jellyfish and the giant whale leaping across the lifeboat (slightly ruined by this scene being shown in the trailer) but nonetheless magical. I also loved the changing colours of the water and the dynamics of light and reflection.
I also particularly like the symbolism and certain iconic scenes in the film, an example being the one which reinacts the cover for the book, featuring Pi lying on the tarpaulin with sea creatures beneath the water. These subtle references add depth to the movie which will please those that have read the book.
However, one of the negative aspects would be the lack of a real climax, which the book also lacks but is made up for by the shocking ending; here I am not so forgiving. To the regular cinema goer, the movie just seems to end and lacks any sort of real satisfaction- so I definitely recommend reading the book first.
With regards to 3D or no 3D, the film was made as a visual spectacle so to not see it in 3D would be an abomination. That said, only a few scenes were really three dimensional and the rest of the visual delights would be just as enjoyable in 2D.
Suraj Sharma- Young Pi Patel
Irrfan Khan- Adult Pi Patel
Rafe Spall- Writer
Also stars Tabu, Adil Hussain, Gérard Depardieu, James Saito and Vibish Sivakumar.
The rather unknown cast worked well for the movie, shifting the focus from the actors to the meaning, the message and the visuals. Tobey Maguire was initially cast but removed due to his relative fame, potentially overshadowing the main actor.
Suraj Sharma was likeable to watch and gave enough to pull off the lead role although was not as gripping as Irrfan Khan, who despite his short screen time, managed to present a hat full of emotion, humour and mystery.
'Life of Pi' tells of a wonderful story of survival, faith and self discovery but gets a Hollywood visual treatment which makes it an absolute visual delight. Readers of the book enjoy it the most but there is still a huge amount to satisfy those that have not.
The book raises many questions and provokes thought on faith and religion, which the movie attempts to do at the start and hints at the end, but doesn't do enough of, and is perhaps distracted by the visuals.
One of the most hyped movies this Christmas (alongside The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) due to the epic trailer (even if it is slightly misleading), this is definitely a must see movie even if just for the visuals and artistry.
Many people will flock to see this thinking it is an epic shipwreck adventure, but it is definitely much deeper and more meaningful than just that, and for some, the movie might be a bit of a disappointment because it isn't what you first expected, but if you go see this bearing in mind it is more than what it is sold and promoted to be, you might just come out surprised!
Expect this to win the best visual effects Oscar at the minimum.
On a side not, this movie is rated at a PG, but I felt it contains scenes where it might be upsetting for a child (involving the tiger and other animals *wink wink*) and it evokes strong feelings of loss and tragedy.
About the film
Life of Pi is an adventure/ drama film that was released in 2012 and based on Yann Martel's book of the same name. The film has a run time of 127 minutes and a rating of PG.
As an immigrant to Canada, Piscine Patel attracts the attention of a novelist who has heard about his story from his 'uncle' back in India. With the hopes that the story would make a good novel, the writer asks Piscine to tell him his story.
Piscine (later shortened to Pi due to being picked on at school) lives with his family in India, where his mother and father run and own a local zoo. However, the family do not own the land the zoo sits on and when it is going to be bought, Pi's father decides to move everyone and the animals from the zoo to Canada. After booking passage on a Japanese ship, the family get ready for their new life. Devastation strikes while travelling across the seas though and a massive storm hits, leaving Pi alone on a lifeboat along with an injured zebra, an orangutan and Richard Parker, an adult Bengal tiger.
The film follows Pi on his adventures on the lifeboat and his journey back to civilisation.
Suraj Sharma as Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, age 16
Irfan Khan as Pi, adult
Ayush Tandon as Pi, age 11/12
Gautam Belur as Pi, age 5
Tabu as Gita Patel, Pi's mother
Adil Hussain as Santosh Patel, Pi's father
Gérard Depardieu as the Cook
Bo-Chieh Wang as the Sailor
Rafe Spall as the Writer
Shravanthi Sainath as Anandi, Pi's teenage girlfriend
Andrea Di Stefano as the Priest
Vibish Sivakumar as Ravi Patel, Pi's older brother, age 18/19
Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli as Ravi, age 15
Ayan Khan as Ravi, age 7
What I thought
As I have a Cineworld Unlimited Card, I was able to go to an advance screening of this film in Nottingham on 10th December. Although I have not read the book, the trailers for the film made it look fantastic and I was really looking forward to seeing it. I also saw this in 3D due to it being how the advance screening was being shown.
Life of Pi begins with Pi, now a middle aged man meeting with a novelist in his home in Canada. The novelist had been writing in India when he scrapped his work, deciding to start over. By meeting Pi's 'uncle', he hears about an amazing story which he instantly thinks could work as a novel. Pi begins to tell the novelist about his life in India and how he came to live in Canada. The beginning of the film sets the scene perfectly by showing how Pi grew up, where he got his name from and also how he and his family lived.
As the story continues, Pi grows up a bit, finds religion and love and his life is extremely interesting. He definitely doesn't have the normal life of any other boy in India. I really enjoyed the actors who play Pi throughout the film but especially Suraj Sharma who plays the role for the most part of the film. At age 16, Pi and his family want to move to Canada and this is where the film gets interesting. Their ship hits a massive storm and Pi finds himself all alone in the sea - apart from a zebra, orangutan and a Bengal tiger. The young man playing this role really throws himself into it and is able to really show emotion well. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere, not knowing how he is going to survive, fear was his first feeling. Along the way, sadness, hope, loss of hope and anticipation also kick in.
Pi encounters all kinds of problems while at sea, mostly with Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger who is determined to make the boat his own home. Obviously, he does eventually make it back to land otherwise he wouldn't be telling his story to someone else, so while a large amount of the film is set at sea, not all of it is. The changes in setting were great and really broke up the monotony of seeing the same thing for such a long length of time. The whole story is beautifully told and made me feel a whole range of things while watching it.
In 3D, this film is a visual masterpiece. I'm not normally the biggest fan of 3D but with this film, I think you would miss out on a whole lot if you didn't see it this way. With the bright and beautiful colours of India mixed with the exotic animals in the zoo and Pi's life when he is at sea, there is so much to look at, at all times during this film. You can experience tiny birds flying out into the cinema, feeling like they are flapping their wings right in front of your face. The 3D effects on this film were so fantastic that I even jumped a few times because things ended up looking as though they were straight in front of my face. I don't think I have ever, or will see again for a long time, a film as visually stunning as this one.
Although not a complex story, or a film with a massive cast, Life of Pi is one of the best films I have seen this year. It is a film that will make you feel things you won't expect, react at things you would never think of reacting to and it is also just a wonderful story.