Life of Pi (PG)

Film

Epic films

Suraj Sharma and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker in Life of Pi

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Dec 11 2012

Yann Martel’s 2001 novel ‘Life of Pi’ divided readers: some found its wide-eyed spirituality and magic-realist invention intoxicating, while others choked on its pantheistic platitudes and winsome authorial voice. Against all the odds, Ang Lee’s epic 3D adaptation might just unite the two camps: fans will lap up the film’s dedication to capturing the spirit of Martel’s words, while doubters may well find themselves – slowly, grudgingly – persuaded by the film’s astonishing visual confidence and narrative force.

Three actors (notably teenager Suraj Sharma) play Pi, the middle-class lad from Pondicherry whose adolescent explorations of faith are interrupted when the container ship he’s travelling on goes down in the Pacific. Everyone on board is drowned, except for Pi and four denizens of his father’s zoo, among them a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The question is how long boy and tiger can coexist, miles from land and fresh water, and with precious little hope of rescue.

A word of warning for the traditionalists: ‘Life of Pi’ is a film steeped in CGI, and there are very few shots here without some kind of process element. But this isn’t some sort of sickly, soupy digital phantasmagoria: Lee handles the special effects and especially the 3D with absolute surety, creating moments of jaw-dropping, eye-ravishing beauty. ‘Finding Neverland’ writer David Magee’s script isn’t quite so successful: mostly he manages to avoid both syrupy sentiment and hazy magical thinking, but a late diversion onto an island randomly populated by meerkats feels jarringly out of place, while some of the voiceover is a little heavy-handed.

But it all comes together in a blunt but forceful finale, as the scales fall from our eyes and all our doubts are cleverly addressed. It’s here that Lee stamps his claim on Martel’s work most forcefully, and all that rampant visual excess comes into sharp focus. For Lee, this isn’t just a story about God, life, death and our place in the world – it’s about cinema too and how, in the modern age, it’s inextricably interlinked with everything we feel and experience. It’s a remarkable moment in a remarkable film: flawed, yes, but marvellously ambitious, and unforgettably gorgeous to look at.

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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Dec 14, 2012

Duration:

127 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Tobey Maguire, Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Suraj Sharma

Screenwriter:

David Magee

Director:

Ang Lee

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|43
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Brian

Whether you see this movie in 2 or 3D, nothing can save it from being a trite, 1D film.

Alan

In 2D at last - and it looks amazing! But why did we have to wait so long?

Alan

In 2D at last - and it really looks fantastic. But why did we have to wait so long?

Goldie

Spellbinding, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, there was times that the scenes was very touching and ful of emotions, will recommend this film to my friends - and enjoyable evening at the movies.

Goldie

Spellbinding, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, there was times that the scenes was very touching and ful of emotions, will recommend this film to my friends - and enjoyable evening at the movies.

Paula

This film suprised me, and not just because I haven't gotten around to reading the book (yet!). The story itself is an amazing one, with twists in all the right places, a dose of sadness in the plot but triumph too. You really feel for Pi thanks to the way the story is told and the direction in the film. The social effects are brilliant too - very convincing as you will quite honestly think it's all real. My only tip would be to make sure you keep listening and concentrate at the end section. It's quite important but really ties the whole story together; if you don't get it, you might not get that nice feeling of all the loose ends coming together as I did.

Paula

This film suprised me, and not just because I haven't gotten around to reading the book (yet!). The story itself is an amazing one, with twists in all the right places, a dose of sadness in the plot but triumph too. You really feel for Pi thanks to the way the story is told and the direction in the film. The social effects are brilliant too - very convincing as you will quite honestly think it's all real. My only tip would be to make sure you keep listening and concentrate at the end section. It's quite important but really ties the whole story together; if you don't get it, you might not get that nice feeling of all the loose ends coming together as I did.

davet

a reasonable attempt, but i didn't think it really worked as a film, unless you enjoy well-meaning but ultimately vacuous psychobabble

critique

Great to look out, charming, distinctive. Of the half a dozen or so films I`ve viewed in 3D, this uses the often gimmicky medium most effectively.

sticky

Agree with both comments by BucksTony. Everyone knows Ang Lee is a great director and he really does the best he can, especially visually. However, the lead actor lacks depth and isn't convincing at all, plus there's a syrupy script with its quasi-religious themes. Not enough tension and a film that relies so much on narration to tell a story is always lacking a decent script.

Ric

I'll be the umpteenth person to say this but yip...its visually stunning.anyone who has read my reviews shld know I loathe 3d,its the biggest money making con in 40 years. I saw this in 3d(ps- cineworld card holders now get it for free)i was very impressed not as much as going to IMAX cinemas.In this day and age 3d is such a gimmick but all movies should be made of the quality that Life of Pi 3D showed. Better than castway(tom hanks)

DutchAngLiFan

Dear Jenny, goed evening. Mybe you should have gone with your children to watch The Hobbit instead. Life of Pi, the book is definitely meant for adults as far as I know and the film though family-friendly to a certain extent is not what I would have considered an entertaining film for children in the first place. Richard Parker would never eat Pi, of course. Pi is a far too nice and too sweet and too kind and too decent young man for that don't you think so? Again, for me personally, this is one of Ang Lee's best movies ever and Ang Lee has of course made quite a few brilliant movies already in his remarkable directing career.

DutchAngLiFan

Dear Jenny, goed evening. Mybe you should have gone with your children to watch The Hobbit instead. Life of Pi, the book is definitely meant for adults as far as I know and the film though family-friendly to a certain extent is not what I would have considered an entertaining film for children in the first place. Richard Parker would never eat Pi, of course. Pi is a far too nice and too sweet and too kind and too decent young man for that don't you think so? Again, for me personally, this is one of Ang Lee's best movies ever and Ang Lee has of course made quite a few brilliant movies already in his remarkable directing career.

Jenny

OK this film may be visually stunning, but I have to admit to wishing that Richard Parker the tiger would eat Pi so I could go home....As for the Meerkats sequence - I agree that it looked like a bad acid trip. Definitely not for me and my children are still annoyed that I forced them to come to watch it with me. I, for one, was not spiritually uplifted, just bored....

DutchAngLiFan

The surprise film hit this Christmas in Amsterdam. This is an *international* film and Amsterdam is one of the most international cities on this planet with her 179 nationalities so it's no wonder that this movie is such a sensation here! My top 3 films of 2012 toether with Jagten from Denmark and A Royal Affair also from Denmark. My best actress of the year is Marion Cottilard for Rust & Bone and my best actor of the year is Mads Mikkelsen for Jagten/A Royal Affair. Lincoln, Lez Miserables, Django unchained and The Master are my most eagerly awaited films for early 2013.

DutchAngLiFan

The surprise film hit this Christmas in Amsterdam. This is an *international* film and Amsterdam is one of the most international cities on this planet with her 179 nationalities so it's no wonder that this movie is such a sensation here! My top 3 films of 2012 toether with Jagten from Denmark and A Royal Affair also from Denmark. My best actress of the year is Marion Cottilard for Rust & Bone and my best actor of the year is Mads Mikkelsen for Jagten/A Royal Affair. Lincoln, Lez Miserables, Django unchained and The Master are my most eagerly awaited films for early 2013.

kaz

Visually stunning really enjoyed the scenes between the boy and his tiger. Haven't read the book so cannot compare but the film although very slow in parts did not disappoint.. well done Ang Lee

James Bradley

I'm afraid I preferred the book, having said that Ang Lee created an amazing film. I am really sad that the distributor of this film milked me of even more hard earned money to pay for 3D specs. It made very little difference and reeks of profiteering especially as I have two children.

oli

this film is a journey of love and lost and a fine one at that! the film boasts a heart felt tear jerking plot. The flourishing realtionship between pi and the tiger was magical and the film demonstrates how quickly things change. the ending to the film is incredibly clever and allows the viewer to adopt their own perspective on the events of the film. perhaps the film is describes exactly how the events entaled or perhaps the film is just a glorious metaphor. wonderful film from a brilliant director!

oli

this film is a journey of love and lost and a fine one at that! the film boasts a heart felt tear jerking plot. The flourishing realtionship between pi and the tiger was magical and the film demonstrates how quickly things change. the ending to the film is incredibly clever and allows the viewer to adopt their own perspective on the events of the film. perhaps the film is describes exactly how the events entaled or perhaps the film is just a glorious metaphor. wonderful film from a brilliant director!

Russell Hogg

I found the book a total snore fest. The film was just marvellous. I found the points it made about faith interesting but it was the wonderful storytelling and beautiful images that made it a five star film for me.

Russell Hogg

I found the book a total snore fest. The film was just marvellous. I found the points it made about faith interesting but it was the wonderful storytelling and beautiful images that made it a five star film for me.

Paul

Two long long hours of new age pap, that has undone my seasonal goodwill to all men. Who writes this stuff, who wants to watch it, why do we give it screen time? At least I didn't waste more money on pap in 3D. This was a tedious experience of a film that has nothing to say unless you think CGI has merit and like your theology sugar coated

echo

A total astonishing cinema experience, still think about it now.. It is not a film for someone who only seeks 3D visual entertaining though it is wonderfully done, but a film that need to put heart and thought in understanding all metaphors behind the scene. What you saw in beauty was unreal, while what was real--the alternative survival story in the end---was real but crude ... but what you saw, was a journey of spiritual struggling, lost and found... but you will still choose to believe the first version of the story as the writer did, because that makes you believe it is possible to find a faith

echo

A total astonishing cinema experience, still think about it now.. It is not a film for someone who only seeks 3D visual entertaining though it is wonderfully done, but a film that need to put heart and thought in understanding all metaphors behind the scene. What you saw in beauty was unreal, while what was real--the alternative survival story in the end---was real but crude ... but what you saw, was a journey of spiritual struggling, lost and found... but you will still choose to believe the first version of the story as the writer did, because that makes you believe it is possible to find a faith

Adam Walker

A simply stunning film. Every adjective in the dictionary couldn't get close to describing the beauty and poignant message of the film. A remarkable piece of film making. And the most seemless in 3D; not too much, just enough. It enhances the experience rather than driving it. The twist at the end is a tear jerker. I urge everyone with a heart and open mind go see this film. And those cynical ones should be better off watching paint dry, as they clearly have no imagination.

Adam Walker

A simply stunning film. Every adjective in the dictionary couldn't get close to describing the beauty and poignant message of the film. A remarkable piece of film making. And the most seemless in 3D; not too much, just enough. It enhances the experience rather than driving it. The twist at the end is a tear jerker. I urge everyone with a heart and open mind go see this film. And those cynical ones should be better off watching paint dry, as they clearly have no imagination.

Ian

Oh dear a truly awful film. It is long, slow and dull. Apart from the whale at night scene the 3D really doesn't add much if anything to the film. Where to start? The plot is dull and never really explains the finding God and redemption theme. There are a number of sub plots like the Love of his life girl left behind that aren't really developed and the meerkat island feels like something the Beatles would have come up with after a bad LSD trip. Sorry, some people might find this enlightening but I found it really rather dull. Maybe like the Julia Roberts "Eat, Pray, Love" disaster flick some books are best left unfilmed. Two stars for me and a poor two at that,

salvatore contaldo

Great trailer - easy to disappoint after the actual screening - and so it was. The plot lacks of proper depth and so you wait for "the moment" to happen whilst the movie keeps on going and you reach the final without even noticing...Once again: please spend on stories rather than special effects (at least if you want people to remember your movies)!

scrumpyjack

Beyond words..........oh GREAT visual's as and when, but MAN...........is it BORING in between. A SHIT year for "Xmas" fare & as uplifting as a saggy bra with SHIT "acting" too.........3D ace 1D performanances not so. 4/10

Merrittpr

After the trailers and the hype what a massive disappointment. A large section just a tiger and a boy on a boat. Really? On top of a visit to see 7 psychopaths what a cinematic disaster this week has been!

john o sullivan

"I can well imagine an atheist's last words: 'White, white! L-L-Love! My God!'-and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, 'Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,' and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story." C

john o sullivan

"I can well imagine an atheist's last words: 'White, white! L-L-Love! My God!'-and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, 'Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,' and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story." C

BucksTony

An amazing disappointment just about sums it up. The effects are quite wonderful even as we saw them in 2D but the beginning and end where the protagonist sets up then explains his story, both laced with religio-babble betray an anxiety - justified as it turns out - about the narrative's ability to convey the story - and meta-story. Go, be amazed, be unfulfilled.

godfrey h

Just saw this at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome - I'm not sure it needs to be seen in 3D; although marvellously state-of-the-art, the 3D nonetheless draws too much attention to itself. And the colors are crisper, brighter, in 2D, like something out of Maxfield Parrish. Still, it's all very very impressive, very moving, and tantalising; there are some narrative holes (for instance, what happened to the bloody remains of the tiger's meals on the lifeboat?) that turn out to be subtle clues about what is *really* going on. Don't know why Huddleston thinks the meerkat island is out of place - it, too, has such a pertinent metaphorical weight that my partner and I squeezed each other's hands in the wake of a jolt of emotional recognition. In fact, there's another hidden clue about the underlying realities of the story when the priest says to Pi 'you must be thirsty'. What's in a name ? ;-)

godfrey h

Just saw this at the Hollywood Cinerama Dome - I'm not sure it needs to be seen in 3D; although marvellously state-of-the-art, the 3D nonetheless draws too much attention to itself. And the colors are crisper, brighter, in 2D, like something out of Maxfield Parrish. Still, it's all very very impressive, very moving, and tantalising; there are some narrative holes (for instance, what happened to the bloody remains of the tiger's meals on the lifeboat?) that turn out to be subtle clues about what is *really* going on. Don't know why Huddleston thinks the meerkat island is out of place - it, too, has such a pertinent metaphorical weight that my partner and I squeezed each other's hands in the wake of a jolt of emotional recognition. In fact, there's another hidden clue about the underlying realities of the story when the priest says to Pi 'you must be thirsty'. What's in a name ? ;-)

john o sullivan

This might not be the best film of the year ..but its the most remarkable The best use of 3d ever a wonderful story expertly told pure cinematic joy

john o sullivan

This might not be the best film of the year ..but its the most remarkable The best use of 3d ever a wonderful story expertly told pure cinematic joy