Aesthetically pleasing movies tend to be favorites of mine. I'll forgive lazy or completely absent stories if a movie is visually stunning. This time, however, there was no forgiveness necessary. Life of Pi was beautiful...inside and out. I should let you know that I've not read the book so I can't make any direct comparisons. But then this isn't a review of the book so stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Or not...smoking is bad.
The movie itself was quite lovely. Director Ang Lee is so great at giving us beautiful movies (except Hulk,
but every rule has it's exception) and he's done it once again. It's a
stunning combination of a lovely story, strong performances, and
incredible visuals. And I loved every minute of it.
The story goes like this: a young Indian boy finds himself moving with his family and their zoo animals to America by ship. There's a terrible storm and our titular character, Pi, ends up on a boat with his new and scary best friend, a tiger named Richard Parker. Pi spends 227 days on the boat with Richard Parker learning extreme life lessons about survival, the existence of God and the value of even the smallest life (a fish he has to kill in order to feed the tiger). If you haven't read the book I don't want to tell you much more of what happens during his time on the Pacific Ocean. Just go see the movie, you'll be happy you did.
Suraj Sharma's first acting job but it didn't show. Apparently his brother was trying out for the part of young Pi and Suraj went with him for support. I've heard this before from other folks, so the lesson is to not bring your sibling with you for job interviews because they'll just take it away from you. Irrfan Khan plays adult Pi (who is telling the story) and he's just wonderful in this and actually in just about everything else he's done. But my absolute favorite was Rafe Spall (son of Timothy "Wormtail" Spall). I love this kid and am so excited that he's getting lots of work. In Life of Pi he's the writer who is hearing the story from adult Pi. The other story I heard was that originally this role was supposed to be Tobey Maguire (ick!) but they went with Spall (yay!). It's a small part but integral because he's us. He's listening to the story and gets sucked in as much as we do. At the end he, much like the audience, could chose whether or not to believe it as factual but honestly it doesn't matter. It's a beautiful story and an amazing journey. Anywhoodle, Spall's "Writer" is subtle, sweet and non-judgmental when most others would just roll their eyes at such a fantastic and hard to believe tale.
And again...the visuals. It's just a stunning movie. If you have any desire to see it, please do so in a theater. You deserve to see it on a big screen in all its splendor.