Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life of Pi (2012)

JohnnyTwoToes embraces the spiritual side in this deserving Oscar winner

I realize that not everybody celebrates Easter, but in honor of the Easter holiday and what it means to Christians like myself I am going to celebrate a film that represents the very best of humanity and what better than the 3D live-action, special effects adventure drama - Life Of Pi.

Ang Lee's Life Of Pi is a sumptuous film that tells the story of an Indian boy named Pi (his name is actually longer - Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel acted superbly by newcomer Suraj Sharma) whose family after losing their lease for the land on which the zoo is (in Pondicherry, India) must sell all of the animals and start over. Their father owns the animals but the property is owned by the Indian government. He receives an offer to sell all of the animals in Canada, so he loads up his family on a boat and off they go to Canada. 

When the ship hits a storm and sinks the only survivors are Pi and a few animals most notably the very Bengal Tiger that his father had warned him about. "That tiger is not your friend. He is a wild animal and you two will never be friends, as he will kill you to survive." To prove his point the father brings in a goat and forces his entire family watch what the tiger does to the goat. From that point on Pi avoids the tiger, as you can imagine. 

The ship, as I said sinks and after it is all said and done who do you think is on the one and only life raft in the middle of the ocean? Yep, you guessed it. Now how do you survive on a raft with a tiger when there is no where to run or hide? 

Life Of Pi is visually stunning and Ang Lee has every shot beautifully framed. The colors jump off the screen and bring the film alive but Life Of Pi has another thing going for it; an intelligent script by Dave Magee based on the novel by Yann Martel. It is a script about forgiveness and spiritual awakenings. Pi starts out as a Hindu, then dabbles in Islam, until he becomes a Christian almost purely by accident. He is not a perfect person but he is smart, questions things and learn from his mistakes but above all he holds no animosity towards anyone even a Bengal Tiger. After all, the tiger is only doing what it is programmed to do. 

Life Of Pi seems to be a more personal film for Ang Lee as is to speak of a spiritual journey for himself, as well. Of this I know not, as I can only speculate. It just seems that way as I watched. This has the most positive approach to Christianity (or any religion)  that I can remember in a film in a long time. In Hollywood to day most Christians are represented as the most vile people on earth; child molesters, rapists, murderers, you name it. The Christian seems to be the culprit in the most reprehensible ways. 

In Life Of Pi, he is different. There is a scene when Pi finally stands up and calls on God, "What do you want of me? I am here and I am ready to be your vessel." I was blindsided. It is rare Christians are represented in such a heartfelt way. I have a hat tip to Ang Lee and the makers of Life Of Pi. This is a great film for all reasons. It is funny, moving, poignant and above all compassionate besides the acting is top notch, the music by Mychael Danna is astounding so is the magnificent almost true life like Richard Parker, the tiger. I went into Life Of Pi kind of dubious and came out awestruck. This is one of the years best films. Life Of Pi-**** out of 4


  1. Great review! I thought it was a stunning movie and beautifully written! I'm excited to read the book.

  2. Glad you loved the film and liked my review, Katie!

  3. One note I wanted to add was that Mychael Danna won best original score for Life Of Pi for 2012. It was a great score, no doubt but Skyfall, the latest James Bond film, had the very best score of 2012 by none other than one my favorites, Thomas Newman. A review of Skyfall has been submitted and is being reviewed so I will not say anything about my like or dislike for the film itself. All I can say is that Thomas Newman's score was the best music I have heard for a Bond film since John Barry. This is not to take anything away from the other composers that have scored Bond films. Those scores are great scores and I have all of them. But, Thomas Newman who worked with Skyfall director Sam Mendes on most of his films including Road To Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and American Beauty usually has scored only dramas and animated features. Not being known for scoring big action pictures, Newman took the bull by the horns and went all out, balls to the wall for Skyfall and his score was magnificent; utterly and completely magnificent. It is hard enough to score a film as a lot of composers (yes, even the big names) will tell you. What Newman did for Skyfall was amazing. He has all of the elements of a Bond score; swanky and sexy exotic themes, soft and sensual chords with hard core, in-your-face action tones to make Skyfall score the best score of 2012.......In my humble opinion.

  4. Watched this again and I think it deserves 4 stars instead of the 3 1/2 I gave it. I can look past the slow start and give it four. Just a phenomenal film; simply incredible!


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