Life of Pi (2012)
Dir: Ang Lee
There seems to be an interesting trend recently with films going into the realms of ‘magical realism’. This isn’t exactly that, but does show certain qualities in that direction.
‘Life of Pi’ is a tale told by an adult Pi (Irrfan Khan), to a writer suffering from writers block (Rafe Spall), of how he grew up in India but was shipwrecked as a teenager and stranded at sea in a lifeboat with a tiger called Richard Parker. It’s a fantastical tale, and vividly shown (in 3D in many places) with gorgeous colours and award-winning cinematography. Directed by Ang Lee, better known for ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’, it shows incredible skill in drawing you into the story and filling the screen with beautiful imagery.
It’s a rare occasion where the 3D is used in a film for anything more than higher ticket prices, but here it was used to good effect, helping to both draw the viewer in on certain scenes, but also at other times add to the feeling of the wide expanse of being lost at sea.
It was said that the book this was adapted from would be impossible to film, probably when considering the logistics of having a boy and a live tiger in close proximity, and surrounded by water. I haven’t seen any full in-depth footage of how it was done yet, though I’m sure the DVD & Blu-Ray releases will have exactly that, and I would be thrilled to see it. CGI is used brilliantly, and Richard Parker (and other animals) look incredible. There was no point at which I felt like I was aware of the fact it wasn’t a real tiger, but there were many points at which the thought crossed my mind that ‘it must be a real tiger for that bit’, though I doubt it was, just some first-rate computer work.
All in all a great film, and it deserves to do well at the Academy Awards in 10 days time, though there’s stiff competition in every category, there’s no way anything will beat this for the ‘Visual Effects’ Oscar.