Press-Republican

Out & About

November 29, 2012

'Life of Pi' visually stunning

“Life of Pi” may not be the best film of the year, but it seems unlikely there’s a film that’s better looking.

Directed lovingly by Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), “Life of Pi” is a spectacular visual achievement that takes advantage of 3-D better than any movie since “Avatar,” immersing the viewer in a lush and slightly surreal world of color, shape and movement.

The film tells the tale of precocious Indian boy Pi Patel and his grand adventure. The first part of the movie covers Pi’s back story: how he got his odd name, his experiences at the family zoo and a spiritual experimentation that makes him the world’s first devout Hindu Christian Muslim.

Eventually, however, the family has to pack up its animals and head off on a slow boat to Canada, and that’s when the movie really gains life.

The ship capsizes, and Pi — a remarkable Suraj Sharma, who had never acted before — finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a hungry Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

How can a young boy — even an inventive one — co-exist with a hungry tiger? Faith? Luck? Ingenuity? Fate? It’s a question that Lee makes interesting and worthwhile.

Interspersed with Sharma’s adventure are scenes with a grown-up Pi (Irrfan Khan) being interviewed by a Canadian writer (Rafe Spall). Fortunately, the snippets — originally filmed with Tobey Maguire as the writer but reshot when Lee decided a name actor might be distracting — are mostly quick enough not to take away from the almost dream-like survival tale.

Sharma is genuine and sympathetic as Pi, while his companion, Richard Parker, may be the most life-like CGI creation yet put on the big screen. All but a few shots of the tiger are generated by computer technicians.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Steve Ouellette's Movie Reviews
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Entertainment Videos
The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Uzo Aduba Says Emmy Nod Is 'Crazy' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up Mirren Not Thrilled to Play 'The Queen' on B'way The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Shawn Mendes Jumps From Vine to the Music Charts Cook Shifts Gears in 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' ShowBiz Minute: Stritch, Marvel, Beyonce ShowBiz Minute: Cole, JWoww, Box Office ShowBiz Minute: Garner, Backstreet, George 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Legendary Actor James Garner Dies 'Pageant' Star Nick Cearley on Show, Skivvies Roger Ebert Doc a Surprise Summer Hit First Lady Salutes Monae ShowBiz Minute: Cranston, Obama, Howard Kruger on Where 'The Bridge' Leads in Season 2 Kim Kardashian Mobile Game Is a Top Seller
CVPH Job Opportunities