Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Case for a Slice of Pi

I have one regret about seeing Life of Pi.  I did not see it in 3D.

Actually, there are a few other regrets, to do with the theatre at Readings with the terrible sound (cracking 20 seconds or so), the person next to me who kept texting throughout the session, the person who brought individually wrapped crisps and ceaselessly unwrapped them and then the evil people who sat in the wrong chairs… actually, that last one was me (by accident; I always mistake row K).  Actually, I was a little unimpressed by all those in the middle of the back rows who came in at the very last second as the trailers finished to tut admonishingly (I couldn’t see their faces to see them rolling their eyes, though I felt it) when they found people in their seats (like me, by accident, honest).

But the only regret I have about seeing the movie itself in the 2D version as, if the visuals throughout the film were any indication, it would have been breath-taking to behold.  As it was, in standard two dimensions, the visual were truly remarkable, the CGI animals rendered beautifully (only occasionally looking a bit animated) and the wide Pacific Ocean resplendent in the early morning hues or in the tempestuous cyclones of the different days of Pi’s journey on a lifeboat.

And that is, kind of, what the story is about.  Pi, a young man with a passion for religions, finds himself the sole survivor of a ship sinking – well, sole besides a few of the zoo animals that were travelling with him and his family, and some of the more unsavoury animals at that.

This story is wrapped around the meeting of an older Pi with an uninspired Canadian novelist looking for his next best seller, lured to Pi by the prospect of a story that will leave him believing in god.  Or God. 

There is no Coldplay.

Whether that is a sign of a deity or not, I was not sure.  However, I was unconvinced by this “promise” when the final credits rolled.  It kind of felt like a tacked on attempt at epiphany when all that really existed before was a very good story.

And it is good.  Ang Lee makes a sumptuous feast of a film, with beautiful images and characters (and animals) abounding.  There is animal violence (which elicited quite a few yelps from the person next to me) and Gerard Depardieu (not speaking Russian), and the whole “younger Pi” part of the film is superb.  The “older Pi” slice is a little less successful, though the two actors putting the rest of the film in context do a good fist of it.

I have heard people say that they found the film depressing rather than inspirational, and I can definitely see that perspective.  However, it struck me more as a bittersweet film, and a very well done one at that.

Verdict: Life of Pi was definitely not the life affirming movie the preview promised, but it was an entertaining and beautiful film nonetheless.  If I was ever stuck on a lifeboat myself, I doubt I would want the Life of Pi film on my solar powered tablet to keep me entertained, but if I had 3D goggle version… that might be a different story.  7 para para paradises out of 10.

1 comment:

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