Friday, 1 February 2013

Life Of 3.14159265359......

Based on a multi-award winning and bestselling book, today's film has it all. Water, water, water, water, er... water, and a tiger. It's nominated for 11 Oscars (Just behind Lincoln with 12) and Obama described the book as,  "an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling." [x] On a personal note, I adored the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading - or anyone who can read. It is truly a fantastic read. This is Life Of Pi.

The story of Piscine Molitor Patel, otherwise known as Pi after he was called 'Pissing' for years. As a young boy, Pi took up some strange interests such as swimming and finding out as much as he could about different religions until he is a practising Hindu, Muslim, and Christian. Pi's family own a zoo in Pondicherry, India, but as times get harder, the Patel family decide they have to give up the zoo, sell the animals to other establishments around the world, and move to Canada. But disaster literally strikes when a storm causes the boat that the whole family and half the zoo animals are on to sink. Pi is lucky enough (some may argue) to be thrown into a life boat, which is soon invaded by a zebra and a handful of other animals. The ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean and Pi fearfully clings to the side of the lifeboat; a horrible way to start 227 days at sea. Pi prays that his faith, knowledge of animals, and intelligence will bring him to safety.

'I believe I can fly' was always Pi's favourite song.

Being, essentially, a one man film - minus small scenes with the family and the future Pi - the whole film hangs on one actor: Suraj Sharma. Not only does the entire movie rest on his shoulders, it is his debut. This is his first appearance in any form of filmed media and it is impossible to tell. His performance is ridiculously solid and unfaltering. Acting to nothing for the majority of the film - his only companions being the sea and a CGI tiger - he takes 2 hours of what should surely be dull and dragging and makes it completely engaging. And since there is very little else to talk about in terms of acting, let us look at the special effects of Pi's pals. Watch the film and try and tell the computer generated tiger from the real one. You will be wrong most of the time. The special effects on the animals is absolutely outstanding. Richard Parker, the tiger, in particular, is a piece of technical wizardry. 

Pi starts his own Mexican wave.

But the animals are not the only special effects that are worthy of mention. The film, as a whole, is a collectio of some of the best visual creations in film to date. Think Avatar, but rather than creating a new world, it perfectly, and breathtakingly, captures our own. Thousands of fish flying over and around the boat, whales soaring out of the water, glowing sea dwelling creatures galore, Life Of Pi, simply astounds in every visual aspect it possibly can. Ang Lee has solidified the title of master behind the camera as he presents one of the most visually astounding and captivating films of recent years. Better yet, he did it with a premise that was described as unfilmable. All this combined with an emotionally developed script and heart wrenching score creates a beautifully moving piece of cinema that captures the themes of the book to a tee: faith, miracles, and strength in human determination. Some damn fine editing brings everything together perfectly.

 An incredibly shot film. Not just a masterful story, but also one that touches on the important things in life. And on top of that, it is simply beautiful. Fans of the book may be slightly disappointed due to missing scenes and the extent of Pi's suffering, but the film is wonderful in its own right.

Best Bit? Two breathtaking moments are the second storm and the arrival of the flying fish. Both will leave you speechless. Incredible film making.

Again, on a more personal note, read the book. The book is seven times as good as the film. It's incredible. Don't worry about seeing the film after the book or vice versa, just read the book at some point.

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