Couldn’t get enough of Life of Pi after my last review?  Wanted to delve back into the fantastical world where a boy and a tiger float on the Pacific together?  Fantastic, turns out you’re in luck!  (And if you weren’t after that, well…perhaps you should have gathered by the title of this post).  Yesterday, after completing the novel and hearing rave reviews about the film, I tottered on down to the local cinemas and got ready to appreciate Life of Pi in all of its glorious special effects.


The film and the novel have very similar plot lines, except for the usual skimming over of certain parts in the film, and adding a love interest here and there.  We witness Pi’s apparently magical life in Pondicherry, his epic struggle for survival, both from the elements and from Richard Parker, and the aftermaths of surviving such an amazing and almost unbelievable journey.

Directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi had everyone talking as soon as it was released.  After all, how does one make a feature length film of such a story?  While in a sentence or two it sounds riveting, amazing and adventurous, the reality of the novel is that it is long, detailed and sometimes arduous; all to give us a better picture of what Pi is going through.  So how does a director entertain us with the same two characters, the same scenery, and essentially the same actions for 2 thirds of a film? By producing some pretty impressive visual effects.

By this I mean two things.  Of course, the special effects to create Richard Parker, the massive Bengal tiger that is Pi’s partner at sea, is beyond incredible.  Time and time again I had to remind myself that he wasn’t real, that as life-like, detailed and downright beautiful he was…he wasn’t actually a living, breathing tiger.  This was particularly difficult to remember when we witness the  emotional moments between Richard Parker and Pi (Suraj Sharma); this isn’t CGI, technology or anything complicated, this is just a beautiful relationship between two lost souls at sea.

The second was the gorgeous imagery that we are shown again and again throughout the film.  The beautiful, iridescent jellyfish by night; the vivid, colourful animals of the Pondicherry zo;, the markings and colourings of Richard Parker’s face.  The food, colour and scenery we are shown of India; from the awe-inspiring tea farm in the mountains, to the elaborate religious festivals held at night.

A personal favourite was perhaps 2 thirds of the way through the film, where we’re shown Pi and Richard Parker floating on the sea on a calm day and we’re shown the cloudy sky perfectly replicated in the ocean.  Simple, but lovely.

Ang Lee is up for an Oscar for this film and I can definitely see why.  He has taken a much-loved novel and adapted it to the best of its abilities onto the screen; he has created beauty whenever possible, and added to the senses that many other directors would not have been able to do.

Aside from this, the other feature that I liked this film was the abundance of emotion that were displayed in different and unusual ways.  Considering the lack of dialogue for a large part of the storyline, Sharma was able to show exactly how he was feeling; whether it was rage and pain during the thunderstorm (“You have taken everything from me!”) to sadness when he can picture his family at the bottom of the ocean, I was constantly impressed by how believable it was.

Overall, Life of Pi is a beautiful film and I would recommend it to anyone who was a fan of the novel, appreciates fantastic directing, or just likes to look at pretty things.

Have you seen Life of Pi? What did you think? Let me know!