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Watching "Life of Pi"
Published on December 18, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I review the new movie "Life of Pi."

Here's an excerpt:

"Movies are made for the big screen, but you can’t watch as many movies as I do and see them all in the theater. It just isn’t feasible. And, to be honest, most movies play perfectly well on the small screen, at home. But there are films that really should be viewed in a darkened theater, on the largest screen you can possibly fine, and 'Life of Pi' is such a film. If I could go back and see it at an IMAX theater, I would. That said, the film’s story and themes don’t always live up to its incredible imagery. And yet I’d like to watch it again, despite my mixed feelings.

Adapted from a highly acclaimed book that many people regarded as essentially unfilmable, 'Life of Pi' tells the story of an Indian named Pi. We meet him at three stages of his life: As a middle-aged man, telling his incredible story to a visiting writer, as a boy who embraces Christianity, Islam and Hinduism and as a teenager, moving from India to Canada. Because Pi’s father owns a zoo, the family travels to North America by boat, with the goal of selling their managerie once they get there. One night, there is a terrible storm, and Pi (Suraj Sharma) ventures above deck to watch it. But the storm is big and dangerous, the boat capsizes and Pi eventually finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra, hyena, orangutan and Bengal tiger. Of these four animals, only the tiger, named Richard Parker (google the name to learn its significance), survives, and Pi must figure out how to keep himself alive. He also commits to keeping Richard Parker alive, despite the threat the beautiful yet fearsome animal poses.

As a survival story, 'Life of Pi' works really well. The storm is one of the best ever filmed, scary and fanciful and filled with unforgettable images, such as the orangutan appearing atop a wave like a lost surfer. The scenes on the rescue boat, which take up the bulk of the film, are also pretty amazing. The tiger is an incredibly lifelike creation, despite being completely computer generated, while the ocean is depicted as a place teeming with life — fish, whales, sharks, etc. One particularly stunning sequence is set on a beautiful island filled with meerkats; Pi is able to eat and rest and seems perfectly happy there, until he discovers that the island is carnivorous and will devour human inhabitants. So he returns to sea.

Click here to read more.

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