Reel Talk: Life of Pi: ?Life of Pi? is a powerful and visually astounding story?even on DVD

Posted by Sean van der Heijden

Life of Pi is a spiritual journey that contemplates the meaning and existence of religion through telling the miraculous, imaginative tale of Pi's survival at sea for more than 300 days. After his family decides to leave India, Pi gets stranded in the Pacific Ocean during a terrible storm, left on a small boat with minimal supplies and, of all things, a Bengal tiger.

The relationship between Pi-who is brilliantly acted by Suraj Sharma-and the tiger is one of the most fascinating aspects of this film. Having only each other for company, the two must learn to cooperate instead of living in constant fear of one another. This relationship is at times terrifying, at times heartwarming and at times rather tragic. Director Ang Lee depicts this vivid range perfectly, using many close-ups to capture the characters' emotions, as well as sweeping wide shots that accentuate the beautiful imagery he was able to capture and create.

The film is, in one word, beautiful. The scenery is incredibly gorgeous, and all the more impressive considering a large majority of Pi's time at sea was filmed using a green screen. In fact, much of the film is computer-generated, including many of the landscapes and, for the most part, the tiger, who is given a personality of his own. He is what truly makes 'Life of Pi' a technical masterpiece. He is so lifelike; it is impossible to tell when they used a real tiger, which they did for a few scenes, and when he was computer-generated.

Considering the visual effects, this film is a massive triumph, albeit much of its success must be attributed to Mychael Danna's hauntingly beautiful score and Lee's masterful direction. (Both men earned Oscars for their work). Although this film is primarily visual, and I certainly regret not going to see it in the theaters, it still worked just as well on a smaller screen, and is definitely worth watching.

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