Life of Pi is a 3D-enhanced movie that avoids 3D trappings.
Its use is like Avatar’s: completely immersive.
It’s also a successful adaptation of a popular novel—no easy feat—that’s set mostly on a life raft. Not even Alfred Hitchcock made a life raft interesting.
The fantastic setting helps director Ang Lee, and his choice of bold and rich visuals pays off. Richard Parker, the tiger with whom Pi (first-timer Suraj Sharma) spends most of the story, always looks real whether he’s played by a living tiger or a computer.
Pi and Richard Parker end up on the raft when the freighter ship carrying them from India to Canada sinks in a storm.
How Pi survives without being killed by the tiger or dying of starvation is a fascinating allegory about faith and primal instincts.
Life of Pi is filled with humor and wonderment, but also has its share of heart-stopping drama. Despite its PG rating, it isn’t really for kids. Richard Parker is fierce, and Pi’s loss of his entire family is hard to take, but it’s excellent end-of-year fare, and signals a return to form for Lee after the underwhelming Taking Woodstock.
Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14 / PG / 127 min.