Are you making your way through the best picture nominees? I’ve missed the boat on a few. Argo left the theaters before I had a chance to go. But if there’s one movie that you really, really want to see on the big screen it’s Life of Pi. It’s a thrilling visual spectacle that should be seen on as magnificent a screen as possible, preferably in 3D.
First let me ask you: Have you read the book? Doesn’t matter. Go see the movie. But also, read the book. The book sold over $9M copies and the film has made over $500M already. Clearly, this is a story that resonates with people.
Without giving away too much of the plot, this is a story of survival. Unlike Cast Away, which showcased the star power of Tom Hanks, Pi is carried by an unknown. The title character, Pi Patel, is played by four different actors of various ages. For most of the movie, we see Suraj Sharma as Pi. It’s shocking that this was his first acting gig, and he’s since gone back to college to study philosophy. Just a normal guy…with a phenomenal talent. The physical and emotional demands would have been challenging for even the most seasoned actor. It’s unbelievable that Sharma pulled it off.
I am also a huge fan of the grown up Pi, Irrfan Khan. You might recognize him from Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-Man, In Treatment, or my favorite, The Namesake. He’s one of those actors that always breaks my heart, and this was no exception.
Again, I must stress that the beauty of this movie is reason enough to see it. The incredible and often sad story make it almost unbearable at times, but the wondrous scenes glorifying bioluminescence or water so calm that it can only be described as spiritual, it’s almost euphoric to watch. Ang Lee was the fourth director to take on this film, and his choice to make the ocean a central character is proof that he was the right director to complete the project.
Again, I don’t want to spoil the story for those who aren’t familiar, but I’m sure you’ve seen the tiger in ads. Yes, a main character in the story is a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Four real tigers were used for filming although most of it was CGI. I’m a lover of all big cats so I was drawn to Richard Parker and bow down to the brilliant teams that made this character so real, so alive, and at times, terrifying.
I couldn’t help but think of my own little terrifying tigers at home.
Though 2012 was packed with incredible movies, this is one of the best. Did you see Life of Pi? I’d love to read your opinions in the comments section!