Two Paws Up for “Life of Pi!”
– – Described as “visually stunning” and “the next Avatar,” an upcoming November 21st movie Life of Pi is a 3D magical adventure tale based on the best-selling 2001 novel by Yann Martel which centers on Pi Patel, the 16-year-old precocious son of a zoo keeper who has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal psychology and behavior. The Indian teenager is the only human to survive the sinking of a freighter, and finds himself on a lifeboat with several animals that include an orangutan, a hyena, a wounded zebra, and a Bengal tiger. While on the surface a tale of survival, Life of Pi holds spiritual dimensions as well, although there is no preaching going on here, and more questions are raised about faith and belief than answered. Pi himself practices not only his native Hinduism but also Christianity and Islam; paralleling the story of the young man and the tiger, this is a zen-like tale about coexistence, tolerance, and the reconciliation of opposites…something the world could use more of!
As one might suspect, the tiger by the name of Richard Parker dispatches all of the other life forms except for Pi, whose knowledge, fear, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger for 227 days lost at sea. The film mixes real tigers with computer-generated effects almost seamlessly. Through all of this, the tiger remains feral; this is not a Disneyesque movie about the “power of friendship.” Upon reaching the Mexican coast, the tiger returns to the wild, never to be seen again. Japaneses investigators don’t believe the tale of Pi’s survival, and compel him to tell another one; which will you believe?
Directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Life of Pi is one of the year’s most beautiful, original, and adventurous pictures that can be appreciated on a variety of levels, and is likely to be an Oscar contender…
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