Life of Pi is the unusual combine of visual stunning effects and an inspirational storytelling, instead of the well known action blockbuster. Ang Lee takes the viewers with him to the high sea, on a travel full of wonders and magic. It’s a movie that asks more question than it answers. It’s a movie that doesn’t tell you anything, but instead shows a how colorful the world could be. The question is, is this journey entertaining?
The movie begins with the greatest mistake a movie possibly could do. Instead of progressing the story it begins with a long backstory. It's like announcing the last game of a championship and showing right after the history of said championship, instead of what really interest the people: the game itself. After a glimpse in the life of the main character named Pi, about his problems, his crush, his religion, begins the actual story.
After a shipwreck he finds himself on a small boat, together with some animals. All of them are wild and rather furious, trying to chop off his head. In a matter of days each one dies till only he and the tigers lives. It begins a long and full of struggle story of companionship between this usual pair, which bears the problem of a huge language barrier. As supposed by science, tigers can’t talk English, which makes it difficult for Pi to communicate. I admire Ann Lee that he made most of the setting on the ocean and gave it as much variety as anybody could possibly think of to make it interesting, but even this wasn’t enough to kept me entertained. The ocean and lack of dialogue kept the story to a bare minimum, without much tension. We know right from the beginning, that he will survive, because the story is told by himself. There isn’t much of a goal rather than drifting aimlessly on the ocean and a real antagonist is not to be found. Its not your typical story, as mentioned in the beginning, Rather than a story, it feels more like a picture book that shows you magnificent looks of the world. Instead of telling you anything it keeps asking you question. What is real? What matters? What’s the purpose of life? The ending was one of the best part, but I don’t want to get specific, just saying that it fits the theme of the principles of asking question, rather than giving you answers.
Nearly everything about the movie was created with computers. Besides the current time, the only thing that is real is the character Pi and the boat. Everything else like the animals, the background and even the ocean isn’t real. It looks most of the time stunning in comparison to the actual technology, but doesn’t change the fact that the current technology is not able to render the skin and fluent animations. The animals, whenever their skin shines through their hair look plastic and feel “unreal”. Most people won’t see it, but people with a keen eye could have problems to get into the story like it happened to me. Also a few of the scenes looked unfinished and rushed. They are cutted short, that it isn’t that visible, but it happens a few times. The true highlight of this movie is the artistic design of absolutely everything. May it be the colorful backgrounds, the various designs for the ocean or simply the camera perspectives. They are just one thing: Stunning!
The movie is of a different kind. Whoever is bored by the thoughtless action blockbuster and likes to inspire his own interpretation, will like this one. Everyone else will be bored. I never read the book, but I would guess that this one is more suited to this kind of story, because as good as the scenery was. Nothing beats your own fantasy.