Film Review: Life of Pi (2012)

My rating: ★★★★★



A spell-binding, mind-blowing and a wonderful experience with the strong and compelling storytelling and slight innovation of 3D technology, based on the novel of the same name written by Yann Martel and directed by Ang Lee (best known for Sense and Sensibility, universally acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which won the Best Foreign Language film Oscar, Hulk, and Academy Award nominated Brokeback Mountain for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director), Life of Pi is easily one of the best films of this year. I am quite surprised by the fact that a supposedly “unfilmable” novel turned into an epic film and an astounding experience. Hats off to Ang Lee and his team, first of all. As we all know that this film is about a boy named Pi, who survives a disaster at sea where all of his family members get killed and he gets stuck on a life-boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker and other animals consisting of a zebra, an orangutan and a hyena, and is set on a unusual adventure and learns so much along the way that his way of thinking changes.


Pi is a very unusual character, who spends all his childhood in finding a right belief and for that, he is introduced to several religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Played by Suraj Sharma (young Pi) and Irrfan Khan (Adult Pi), both of them give strong performances especially Khan, who also narrates throughout the film. His character seems so believable and his younger self is also quite strong. The best things about this film are the direction, incorporation of 3D technology which is way more than brilliant and the way of storytelling. The screenplay is written by David Magee (he previously received an Academy Award nomination for his screenplay of Marc Foster’s Finding Neverland). It may have a simple storyline but it is still so strong and thought-provoking and teaches you a lot about finding your true self and believing in yourself. When you finish watching the film, it all depends upon you that what do you really want to believe. What is your opinion about Pi’s story. What were you beliefs before watching the movie and what are your beliefs now. I believe in God with all my heart and soul, and I know what I want to believe and my faith is strong. It may not touch you spiritually but it really makes you want to believe in inspiring film-making and the real power of cinema and storytelling.


Ang Lee’s vision is so powerful, I have no idea why he picked this novel but I am really glad that he did and he made it so beautiful that every frame of the movie seems worth appreciating and with that, Yann Martel’s imagination, which is really strong and quite fascinating how it is penned into the novel. A few of the scenes in the film are shot so beautifully that you want to feel everything that’s happening in the movie, you feel like touching the water, you want to get on that boat with Pi and continue the epic adventure. It all would have not been possible without the brilliant cinematography by Claudio Miranda (known for his work in Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for which he got an Academy Award nomination and Tron: Legacy) and the beautiful visual effects done by Rhythm and Hues Studios (who have previously won 2 Academy Awards and 1 BAFTA award and their most recent work also includes Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hunger Games and Big Miracle).


Honestly, I’m not a fan of 3D technology but I can proudly say that this is the first film that made me actually believe in the entire 3D experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has actually set a bar for upcoming 3D films. Sadly, I wasn’t able to watch James Cameron’s Avatar in 3D and I’m still upset about that but Life of Pi has impressed me enough that I can stop being sad about not watching Avatar in 3D and quite frankly, the whole 3D technology has finally got a new fan.

Clever cinematography, beautiful background score, freaking brilliant visual effects and 3D experience, compelling, inspiring and spiritual storyline and screenplay, great performances, and outstanding direction. These are all the factors that make this film so wonderful that it turns into an epic experience.

I easily tag Life of Pi as one of the epic and most wonderful experiences of 2012.