Life of Pi, 20th Century Fox, directed by Ang Lee, starring Suraj Sharma.
Synopsis: A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor ... a fearsome Bengal tiger.
My thoughts: One might watch the trailer and groan at the prospect of another The Black Stallion, but I have good news: this is not the same. Yes, both involve a ship sinking with one human survivor, and both have the survivor interact with animals while waiting for rescue. There is a key difference, though, that expands drastically with the final minutes of the film. In The Black Stallion, the animal is a horse, something humans communicate with around the world. In Life of Pi, the tiger gives us something completely different. A natural enemy, very willing to devour. I'll get to the important meaning later.
As is evident from the dramatic trailer, the cinematography is overwhelmingly beautiful. In all honesty, you don't see the half of it in the trailer. While at first, it didn't seem likely to work in 3D, I've put that view aside. It's the best live-action 3D I've ever seen! One of the best scenes (for the full emotional effect), is seeing the ship go down as if you were right there. In fact, more than one scene were so effective in this way that I was physically breathless. A few times during the film, Pi encounters rough storms, and this is where another beauty comes through. The camera captures the movement of Pi and his boat so well, it boggles me. While other movies have moved from cut to cut in moments, giving the impression of a storm, these cuts last much longer and show a lot more. It's as if filmed on location, with no misguiding.
Something you should know before you watch is that Life of Pi breaks into the topic of religion quite a bit at the beginning. Pi follows several religions. First, Hindu, then Catholicism, and Muslim, all at once. After the incident, it doesn't come up much, apart from a few overtones, but it's important to be aware going in.
This is a film for slightly older audiences (13+) for the reasons of the ship's intense sinking, and for the complicated concepts of the film.
To warn you, this last paragraph is a bit *SPOILER* oriented. Near the end of the movie, Pi tells another story, showing what the tiger represents. Suffice it to say that there is more meaning to this than surviving on an island with a horse and winning a race with him later on. I won't spoil any more, though.
In conclusion, this is a beautiful movie about survival and perseverance, in the midst of harsh, beautiful nature.
My rating: 8 stars
Life of Pi releases in US theaters on Friday, November 21st.