Far too often have 3D movies proved either pointless or nothing more than eye-candy. “Life of Pi” can now join the ranks of “Hugo” and “Avatar” as a movie that used the device for its artistic and framing capabilities, pushing the boundaries of visual wonder in a wondrous and rich story.
“Pi,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, told the story of a young Indian boy, struggling with his identity and purpose, becoming the only survivor of a ship wreck stranded in a lifeboat with a massive Bengal tiger. Tom Hanks had just a volleyball.
The two, at immense odds against each other, embarked on a seemingly hopeless journey of survival. At one point Pi (Suraj Sharma), believing to have tamed the beast, urinated on his side of the boat to declare his territory. The tiger proceeded to turn up his backside and spray some kind of defensive urine back at Pi. Great, stubborn minds think alike.
This simple story was deep as the ocean upon which it was set, “Pi” explored the ideas of faith and humanity with two unlikely characters sharing the stage as Pi acted as an everyman who wanted to believe in everything, but understood nothing, while the tiger served as the harsh reflection of himself that forced him to combat his humanity, faith and nature itself.
This was such a complex movie that it was open to all kinds of interpretations. Its story of Pi facing storms, struggles and hopes of salvation can be viewed either simply or larger than life itself.
Above all, director Ang Lee has filmed an impossible film in the most visually dazzling of ways. The use of 3D gave depth and beauty to everything from a pool scene to a wave of flying fish with more wow moments than you could shake an oar at. The result is a cinematic oil painting like nothing before it.
“Life of Pi” represented both the spirit and creativity of both filmmaker and audiences in a sense of how a story can be interpreted and presented as well as rewards just after one viewing.