Life of Pi ★★★

I dislike 3D. I have never read the book Life of Pi, nor have I ever met anyone who liked it. In fact, most people I know who've read or tried to read it violently hated it. Yann Martel strikes me as a fairly pretentious person, based on his other activities in life.

So with all that in mind, I thought there was a good chance I'd hate this movie. I went to see it anyway because I do like Ang Lee and I also like to see all the Oscar hype movies, and in the end I liked it well enough.

Parts of the film are really engrossing: the storm/shipwreck scene is quite scary. The tiger is also fairly terrifying at times. And much like its obvious predecessor, Cast Away, it's a surprisingly not dull movie considering it's about one man stranded in one place for a very long time with no one to talk to but a being who can't answer back. Playing the role of Wilson the volleyball here is Richard Parker the tiger, who provides not only scares but also tension and drama. I don't know if the tiger was real or CGI, but if he was CGI it's very well done.

Visually, I don't think Life of Pi lives up to Ang Lee's usual standard. Most of his movies look like paintings come to life, but Life of Pi is a bit too gimmicky as the filmmakers apparently try to have fun with 3D. (By the way, someone is going to have to let me know when 3D movies start looking cooler than pop-up books.)

The story is, as the poster says, unbelievable. But the believable version of the story presented at the end of the film is, as Pi says, far less appealing. And the "just in case you missed the point, we're now going to beat you over the head with it" explanation of the believable version of the story offered by the actor playing the writer almost ruined the entire movie for me. Major screenwriter fail there.