The Life of Pi is not just an amazing movie, and you should watch it. It is not just a beautiful script with wonderful actors telling an amazing tale set to vivid and evocative imagery and music that touches on every emotion in the spectrum of human feeling effectively. Yes, it is all of those things, but I also feel that it is the first movie to really prove that a movie can be designed so thoroughly around 3d that the final result simply wouldn’t be quite the same if you saw the movie without it.
Every frame of this film is a work of art, and it is fully aware that its story is allegorical. It plays on it, and it makes a powerful impression with impossible images that each stand out as inspired.
The movie has to be taken as a whole. Some of the decisions feel a little clumsy in the beginning of the movie, but over the course of the plot they make more and more sense. Irrfan Khan as older Pi is one of those choices. As the film opens and as we are introduced to older Pi he seems extraordinarily plain in every way. Even his voice lacks anything compelling. As he narrates it becomes clear that his opening is a brilliant stark contrast against the events, and his voice becomes a calm narrative force when everything else feels terrifying and isolating.
Enthralling and captivating contrasts fill the entire film beginning to end. Having read the book, the initial trailers didn’t seem to understand what the book meant, or the way it felt. Ang Lee does get it, astoundingly so. Lee gets it and shows it off in the way every animal is captured and in how every single moment is filled with living things.
The only two criticisms of film would be the dialog for the writer. It comes off as a little cheesy and heavy handed. Rafe Spall does what he can with it, and he does well enough that a lot of people may not even agree that it is a little thin. Being contrasted against the beautiful narrative and dialog of Pi Patel may even be the only reason it felt that way. The other would be a very slight heavy handedness of the emphasis on faith in the narrative toward the middle of the film.
About three times the movie made statements that felt forced and unnecessary. The symbolic structure of the movie is so well done that it just was not necessary to have it pointed out so many times. Even if you feel that a certain level of it was needed at some points in the film, it goes just a hair too far, and the audience is not quite left to draw their own conclusions despite being told that they should.
Overall Life of Pi is am amazing work, and a film that is worth watching. Try and find the time to go see it because movies like this just do not get made very often and especially not with a budget like this. Vote with your dollars and let them know that they made the right decision when this movie got funded.