Monday, November 26, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)- When visuals go ahead of writing.

I am going to sound like a cheap rehash of many reviews of this film. First off, I will explain the film. Then I will praise the visuals, but shun the writing, which was done by David Magee.

The film, if you didn't know, is about the enigmatic Piscene Patel, simply Pi. He claims to have ridden in a raft with a tiger for 227 days. It could be true, but a plot device done by Magee leaves us suspicious when Pi tells the audience another story, with more humans.

The acting on the film is glued together by Suraj Sharna, and succeeds in holding our attention for the hour or so when he is alone with another cast standout, a CGI tiger named Richard Parker. In fact, this film is a visual experience. Watch this movie in 3D, as it drags you in to the mysterious Pacific, and the dangerous situation of Pi.

This movie is PG, so why should Pi's journey by dangerous? A smart thing in the story is to not glamorize the zoo animals. Tigers are not the Disney ones from Aladdin, Hyenas in real life are not like Ed from The Lion King. It's a dangerous world that Ang Lee displays, and its convenient that Ang Lee makes this zoo tale is honest.

An employed plot device is flashback, and David Magee uses it very poorly. It's this cheap device that makes the movie equal to other adventure movies. Narration could have been employed to explain the opening, but flashback was not necessary. Even in the hour long segment with the Tiger, there is 40 minutes uninterrupted with Irrfan Khan and Rafe Spall conversing about Pi's journey. The parts without flashback were the best parts!!

There is a conclusion to the film that does not feel natural, and slightly tacked on. However, this ending was in the original novel, so I can understand why Magee employed this segment. It might have worked on paper, but on a screen, it doesn't.

I still ask you to see this movie. It is a dynamic example of CGI and 3D done right.

3 Stars/4

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