Saturday, 2 February 2013

A Pinoy At The Movies: Life Of Pi

No wonder it's nominated in this year's Oscar best picture category. Ang Lee's Life of Pi is a cinematic delight as well as psychological quiz of sorts.

The fact that this film was based from a book that won the Man Booker Prize was a very good reason enough for me to watch it. A few years ago, when I still had time to roam bookstores, I'd always buy the ones that won the Man Booker Prize. I think I have two: Wolf Hall and The White Tiger. Yann Martel's Life of Pi won the Prize in 2002. 
And in 2013, I watched the film version.

Pi is actually the main character's nickname. Named Piscine Molitor after a swimming pool in France, he shortened it to 'Pi' (pronounced pie as in apple pie).

Watching it in CGV Yongsan's IMAX cinema, I was enthralled all throughout the two hours as Ang Lee made sure the audience would get totally drunk with all the scenery, forms and colors that were so delightful to the 3D eyes. I actually almost got drunk! 

From the first scenes of the zoo and its animals owned by Pi's family to the journey of his lifeboat across the Pacific Ocean, Ang Lee serves the audience with one surprise after another. So, watching it on 3D on the big screen is a must!  

These cinematic experience coupled with Pi's story starting from his childhood up to his journey on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker and their relationship that goes up and down like the waves of the ocean were like a test of one's philosophy and faith, mirrored on the big screen. 

Those scenes on the lifeboat especially fascinated me as it made me realize on how much I miss the sea, having grown up just a few kilometers from a beach myself. (The nearest body of water from my home in Seoul is the Han River, which is, well, not exactly blue.) 

The colors of the ocean, its temper, its gifts and punishments - all made me think that the audience can actually see themselves in Pi, one way or another. Of course, with or without the Bengal tiger, or losing one's family while crossing the ocean.

The lines and dialogues were at times funny, and the scenes of Pi's life in India were a cultural education for me. But I wondered, of all the French actors, why was Gerard Depardieu cast as the ship's cook?  And was the tiger all animation? Richard Parker could act!

So, if you can watch Life of Pi at the nearest 3D cinema, do so before its run ends. And make sure you're able to answer the test on which version of his story you would bring home with you, or you would keep to yourself.

1 comment:

  1. It is a great film, but "The Booker" lost all objectivity in my opinion when "Trainspotting" got the shaft from a couple of judges and was removed from competition back in 1993, sort of like what is happening to the best film of 2012, Zero Dark Thirty, which is being blackballed by certain Academy voters in Hollywood because of the use of torture. Anyway, here's what Irvine Welsh thinks of The Booker.

    Personally, I find that U.S. authors not being included in the prize reeks of downright pettiness and snobbish, cultural elitism, especially as The Colonies were once part of The Empire. It could also stem from the fact that the best book of 1992 was Neal Stephenson's metaverse-bending, Snow Crash, and not the two books that tied for that year's "Booker."