Lee brings tiger tale to life

02:20, Jan 16 2013
Life of Pi
Ang Lee’s latest movie Life of Pi is a visually stunning adventure story.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life of Pi. Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain; directed by Ang Lee.

Ang Lee's films are hit and miss for me. I loved his adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm, but was frustrated with Taking Woodstock and Hulk.

I'm glad to say though, that Life of Pi is a film that does not disappoint.

Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, Life of Pi tells the extraordinary tale of a curious Indian boy called Pi who grows up in a zoo in Pondicherry, India.

At a young age, Pi begins to explore religion and spirituality, always questioning with the purpose of understanding more.

When his father announces that the family and the zoo animals will be moving to Canada by ship, Pi's life is changed forever.


The ship sinks and he is left to survive on a lifeboat with Richard Parker, a beautiful, yet terrifying Bengal tiger.

The adaptation is fairly faithful to Yann Martel's novel and while screenplay writer David Magee has made a few minor changes, it does not harm the story in any way.

I actually enjoyed it more than the book, which is strange for me as it is almost always the other way around.

I firmly believe that this is because the film is visually stunning, taking my breath away several times.

The cinematography, in particular the use of colour, created such a wondrous feeling watching the film and the use of 3-D enhanced the depth and beauty of the story even more.

For me, an important aspect of this book to film translation was Richard Parker.

While it is easy for a reader to visualise a tiger and a young boy on a small lifeboat in their imagination, it is not so easy to get this to happen in reality.

I was so happy to see the two characters brought together on that tiny lifeboat and at no time was I reminded that special effects were being used, even when Pi places Richard Parker's head on his lap during a period of hopelessness.

I feel that Life of Pi can be viewed in two ways.

You can either be taken on a trip about spirituality and religion, or go in, like I did, for a fantastical adventure story with an adult Bengal tiger on board.

The Southland Times