Friday, January 18, 2013

Life of Pi - The Re(al) - view

Adult Pi Patel: What has mamaji already told you?
Writer: He said you had a story that would make me believe in God.
Adult Pi Patel: [laughs] He would say that about a nice meal.
Once known as 'The Unfilmable Book', Ang Lee proved the world wrong by transforming a truly marvellous story into a remarkable film. C'mon Richard Parker was CGI!

But before I delve into the technical prowess of this powerful film, I will first complement the story; as yours truly has not read the book - a thing I try not to do before watching an adaptation, and the bozos that ruined Angels & Demons are to blame - I can only say that the story has got to be what drew me to the film, well that and the really awesome trailer. I mean how often do you get stories like this: a sixteen year old stranded on a life boat with none other than a Bengal tiger - named Richard Parker (yep, he's got a last name); their on-sea coexistence is a thing of beauty, especially when Richard Parker realises Pi is actual friend/companion and not a potential meal.

One very surprising fact is that the movie community has failed to recognise Suraj Sharma (who played sixteen year old Pi Patel), something I find appalling as this kid was soul of the movie, well him and Richard Parker - who, CGI or not, deserves an Oscar nod for acting (haha, I'm that ridiculous ... or not). The use of an international cast made this film a joy to watch with no recognizable face (yes that includes Gérard Depardieu), I really applaud Ang Lee (director) for replacing Tobey Maguire with Rafe Spall (the writer) as it proved a wise decision, as a familiar face as Tobey's could have potentially distracted the storytelling from Irrfan Khan (older Pi Patel), which would have caused for viewers to miss a few comedic moments and emotional twists, in reference to the twist at the very end of the film. In all, the cast was just right, as they did more than enough to deliver a truly remarkable film.

Now to the department that made this film 'breathtaking', the visual effects department which composes of Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer and Donald R. Elliott; headed by  Rhythm & Hues Studios (R&H). These guys, alongside director Ang Lee, made this movie what it is. The visual effects are truly (seriously!) a thing of beauty, especially the night time shot of the ocean where the jellyfish lit up the ocean so beautifully that it would leave the most cynical of viewers in awe. And the shot of the whale .... One word - Majestic, please Academy of Science and Motion Picture give these guys the award for visual effects. Please!

Although the use of 3D made the film was poetic & delicate (according to Peter Travers of Rolling Stone), but when Pi and Richard Parker get to the coast of Mexico, the emaciated buddies did not look real. Also the soundtrack was okay, not great ... just okay.

In all, Life of Pi is a beautiful film, with the most amazing visual effects ... a masterpiece in all. Thanks Ang Lee; and Richard Parker for Best Supporting Actor!

 Opened: November 21, 2012 Runtime: 2 hr. 07 min. Genre:  Adventure Rated: PG