Welcome to Pi’s Ark
I haven’t yet read the book “Life of Pi”, so when I went to the film’s screening, I didn’t really know what to expect. The previews I had seen only showed a young man, in a lifeboat, with a fully-grown tiger. I was full of questions: how did that happen?? Is this entire movie going to take place on alifeboat?? When is the tiger going to eat the guy?? Will this movie be boring or interesting?? I was pleasantly surprised that it was NOT boring; it was very interesting, as well as emotional and amazing.
As the movie begins a journalist, known as The Writer (Rafe Spall) is interviewing Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) to learn his life story. He had been advised to seek out Pi to hear his story. Hence, the majority of the movie is told in flashback form. Pi (Suraj Sharma), short for Piscine (French for pool. Pi’s uncle was obsessed with a specific pool in Paris and Pi was named after the pool) is a quirky lad. He lives with his mother (Tabu), father (Adil Hussain), and brother Ravi (Vibish Sivakumar) in Pondicherry, India. His parents own and run a zoo. The opening credits of this movie focus on the animals at the zoo, and this is one time where the 3D made the movie even better looking. Pi loved to learn, especially about different religions. He changed his religion weekly. His parents weren’t happy, but they went along with it.
Pi’s first experience with the tiger was when it was first brought to the zoo. The tiger’s name was Richard Parker. There was a mix-up with the tiger’s actual name, which was Thirsty, and the person who brought the tiger to the zoo. The names were accidentally switched on the paperwork that was processed at the zoo so the tiger was thereafter known as Richard Parker. Not Richard, Richard Parker. When Pi is a teenager, his parents decide they didn’t want to own the zoo anymore and they wanted to move to Canada, so they packed up the animals (to relocate to other zoos) and their belongings and loaded everything up on a freight ship across the Pacific. Sadly, tragedy strikes and not everyone makes it out alive. Pi finds himself in a rescue lifeboat with an injured zebra. Soon, an orangutan comes floating over on a bunch of bananas. This dynamic is ok, no carnivores in the bunch. Unfortunately, a hyena also stowed away and pretty soon, it’s only Pi and the hyena….until Richard Parker shows up.
Luckily, the rescue lifeboat contained food, water, and other emergency supplies which was enough to sustain Pi for a while. He also devised a way to avoid being eaten by the tiger. Throughout the nearly 300 days Pi and Richard Parker were lost at sea, Pi has all kinds of fascinating experiences. Many times I found myself wondering “is this really happening, or is it all in his head??” The visual effects in this movie were just stunning.
Since Pi is narrating the film, we know he survives. But how he survives, and copes with his situation, is amazing to watch. At one point, they come across a mysterious island inhabited by meerkats. Thousands of them!! Too bad the island has a secret, with no other civilization besides the meerkats. Overall, about 75-80% of the film is Pi and Richard Parker lost at sea. For a newcomer, Suraj Sharma did a fantastic job portraying desperation and loneliness but never giving up hope while floating out in the Pacific with a tiger.
Overall, “Life of Pi” is a thought-provoking, emotional journey with sensational cinematography. Be warned, there are some scenes of animals attacking and eating other animals, but that is how it happens in the wild.
While this post was sponsored. All opinions are my own and not influenced by any outside parties. – Madison