Director Ang Lee will get his third look at an Oscar for Best Director (won for Brokeback Mountain (2005) should have won for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) over Steven Soderbergh’s direction of Traffic) with what is 127 minutes of pure movie magic. A feast for the eyes and mystery for the mind.
Based on the Yann Martel’s novel, this magical adventure fantasy drama focuses on Pi Patel (played by Suraj Sharma as the young Pi and the old Pi by Irrfan Khan) the son of an Indian zoo keeper who decides to immigrate to Canada with his family.
During their passage on a Japanese freighter, the ship does a Titanic and Pi is the only human survivor. All of his family is lost.
Set adrift in a 26-foot long life boat young Pi has a couple of companions in that a few of the zoo animals (which were to be sold in North America) survive. They include an injured zebra, crazed hyena and laid back orangutan.
Oh yeah. Also on the boat is Richard Parker. This is the name he had given to a 450-pound Bengal tiger back at the zoo. Now they are face-to-face in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
It is this state of survival, man and beast, which captures the story.
Sure the CGI may be a wee bit hokey at times but Lee has a gift at knowing where and when to use the 3D imagery.
Lee is also a story teller and that is why I honestly believe that it would have not hurt to have retitled the film “The Story of Pi.” The opening four or five minutes of the movie remind one of a National Geographic journey into the wild but sets the tone to the movie, page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter.
It is Noah’s Ark meets Castaway with Richard Parker replacing Wilson the Volleyball.
The musical score is a perfect match with crisp edits and steady acting.
Simply said the best movie (sorry Skyfall fans) to be shown at our local Landmark Cinema in 2012.
On a scale of one to five we give this a five.
See you on the silver screen.