If you have read the book this movie is based on, you are well aware of just how good a theatrical version can be and I'm sure you are desperately hoping they don't mess it up. If you have not read the book, then you are like me and have no idea what this story is about. Everyone knows how good of a director Ang Lee is based on a diverse resume that includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and Sense and Sensibility (We're all trying to forget his Hulk movie, right?) so Life of Pi should be in more than capable hands.
Have you ever watched a movie and wanted to tell everyone about it, but were afraid to say anything about the story because just about anything you say will give away too much? Life of Pi is absolutely one of those movies as it is full of so many wonderful things that are best left to witnessing first hand and not told to you by someone else.
Its exactly like when I first saw Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods, I wanted to run around telling everyone how cool and awesome it was, but then I realized that most of what made it so good were the twists, turns, and surprises so I just had to ask people to trust me when I said it was a movie they absolutely needed to see.
As good of a novel as Yann Martel's Life of Pi is supposed to be, I'm glad I had not read it before watching the movie so everything about it would still be the delightful surprise that it is. I'm curious to know what people that have read the book think about the movie as I'm sure those of you that fall in to that category would be looking at it with a completely different perspective. Either way, I'm sure it would be an enjoyable experience as a lot of what makes it so good is just how unbelievably beautiful it is on the screen which is also perfectly enhanced by the 3D presentation. Seriously, make sure you see this in 3D, it is well worth it.
At this point of my review, you might be wondering if I'm going to say anything about the story, right? Basically, this is the story of Pi Patel, a young man who we quickly learn has an insatiable curiosity about life and how the various Gods that are worshiped around the world can coexist when nature seems to defy the ideals and principles that religion asks us to follow.
When a life changing journey turns in to something he never anticipated, Pi is forced to learn about the most extreme versions of loss and survival when he finds himself stranded in the middle of the ocean. Trapped on a life boat with nothing but a ration of supplies and a sole companion who just happens to be a Bengal tiger, Pi's unique faith in the Gods he has chosen to follow is put to the ultimate test.
When you have a story that pushes the boundaries of believability, you need actors that can ground it in reality and drive the story with, not only strong, but relatable performances. Suraj Sharma does all of this and more in his debut performance portraying Pi as the young man who lives this incredible tale. He pours so much emotion in to his part of the story and does a great job representing all of the wonder, curiosity, and doubt that we all feel about life at some point or another. Irrfan Khan plays Pi later in life and is the narrative vehicle of the movie as he tells his story to an unnamed writer (Rafe Spall) who is in need of some inspiration.
What makes Life of Pi such an amazing experience is how you walk away feeling just as much a part of the journey as the young man during his fantastic adventure and, at least for a short while, you feel a little better about the world we all share. This is a perfect example of how a movie can take you through every emotion you can think of while telling a compelling story you will remember for a long time. There is so much here that will really make you think about so many things and you may find yourself questioning whether reality is truly better than fiction. Please go see this movie as soon as you can and make sure to see it in 3D as well, you will not be disappointed.