– Thomas Mills contributed to this report
Awards season is almost upon us. December 13th 2012 saw the nominations for The Golden Globes and in March 2013, the Oscars will be taking place. “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee seems to be going for his second Oscar with his 3D adaptation of “Life of Pi”.
Based on the novel of the same name, Life of Pi doesn’t so much follow the whole life of Pi, but one particular adventure. After his family decide to move their zoo, Pi (Suraj Sharma) has to travel across the Pacific Ocean with his family and all their animals. However, a deadly storm leaves Pi stranded on a life boat with nothing but a tiger named Richard Parker, who he must learn to co-exist with if they both want to survive.
First of all is the hot topic of the 3D and special effects. It’s been said that the film’s 3D is the best since “James Cameron’s Avatar” and there were plenty of jaw dropping moments. Moments being the key word.
Ang Lee will let birds fly out of the screen and Richard Parker reaches his claws out to the audience, just in case those irritating glasses had made you forget you were watching a film in 3D.
Does the film look great? Yes, it is visually beautiful and it is clear that a lot of the time and care has been put into it. Does the 3D make the film better than if it was in 2D? No, the characters are no more interesting and the plot isn’t any more exciting.
With that set aside, the story itself is great. Whilst stranded in the ocean, Pi questions his place in the world and why God would do this to him. He also wonders about Richards Parker’s place on earth and why the two of them have been put together in this situation. The drama on the boat is merely just spectacle and the depth of Pi’s thoughts about God and the world are what really matter.
The visual effects for the tiger are ground breaking, and the fact he is a special effect is easily forgotten. The lead performance by Suraj Sharma is fantastic. He portrays Pi as a young boy who grows into a wise man with great authority and realism. He has a great screen presence and really draws in audience curiosity.
Ang Lee has always been a director driven by characters and their relationships with each other, whilst also showing an impressive visual flair. Brokeback Mountain and “Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon” are two brilliant examples of this.
The problem with a film such as Life of Pi is that the script has to keep the audience engaged. After all, it is essentially a man on a boat with a tiger. Life of Pi is over two hours long, and it does start to drag towards the last half an hour.
Whilst Life of Pi may not be the masterpiece some critics are making it out to be, it’s still a deep meaning and enjoyable spectacle.Tweet