An adaptation of Yann Martel's bestseller about a 16-year-old Indian boy named Pi who survives a shipwreck and crosses the Pacific in a lifeboat, Ang Lee's Life of Pi has managed to impress critics with its extraordinary visual effects, making the 3D exprerience definitely worth a watch.
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, Adil Hussain
Reviewer: Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
Everything looks beautiful in Life of Pi. The dangerous animals look beautiful. The terrible storms look beautiful. The crashing ocean waves, the twinkling stars, the wondrous carnivorous island on which the hero at one point lands — pure gorgeousness, shimmering with all the wow that superlative 3-D technology has to offer.
Lee's bigger theme isn't God or survival, but the awesome adventure of making the imaginary visible, the adventure of making movies.
Reviewer: Lou Lumenick, New York Post
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is the best-looking film I’ve seen this year, and possibly so far this century. It’s so hypnotically beautiful that people will be using it to calibrate their new TV monitors.
Deploying 3-D more effectively than any movie since Avatar, it boasts computer-generated effects, especially a ferocious Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, that are truly jaw-dropping.
Reviewer: AO Scott, New York Times
It is spoiling nothing to disclose that Pi Patel, the younger son of an Indian zoo owner, survives a terrible shipwreck during a storm in the Pacific Ocean. That much you know from the very first scenes of Life of Pi, Ang Lee’s 3-D film adaptation of the wildly popular, arguably readable novel by Yann Martel.
The problem is that the narrative frame that surrounds these lovely pictures complicates and undermines them. The novelist and the older Pi are eager to impose interpretations on the tale of the boy and the beast, but also committed to keeping those interpretations as vague and general as possible.
Reviewer: Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
Hunger, says the desperate hero in Life of Pi, "can change everything you think you knew about yourself." So too can the ineffably beautiful images of Ang Lee's film change what you think you knew about the appeal of monodramas (although the hero isn't really alone in the unfolding tale); about water (not what it is or what it can do but how it can look) and about the relatively new, fast-evolving field of computer-generated imagery. Mr Lee's film is stronger as a visual experience—especially in 3-D—than an emotional one, but it has a final plot twist that may also change what you thought you knew about the ancient art of storytelling.
Reviewer: Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Ang Lee's Life of Pi asks that we take a leap of faith along with a boy named Pi Patel and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker as an angry ocean and the ironies of fate set them adrift. Their struggle for survival is as elegant as it is epic with the director creating a grand adventure so cinematically bold, and a spiritual voyage so quietly profound, that if not for the risk to the castaways, you might wish their passage from India would never end. There are always moral crosscurrents in Lee's most provocative work, but so magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone.
Reviewer: Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
By design, this adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2003 novel takes viewers on an epic journey -- in this case the 200-day odyssey of its title character and his unconventional travel companion -- but it also plunges them into a story, and the myriad sub-stories it contains. Like a lyrical, extravagantly hued children’s pop-up book, Life of Pi both draws the audience in and encourages it to settle back, the better to enjoy its virtually nonstop display of daring, wonder and cinematic virtuosity. If the story goes “poof” almost as soon as the covers close, that’s probably due to the depth of the source material rather than the movie itself.
Reviewer: Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Technology employed by sensitive hands brings to vivid life a work that would have been inconceivable onscreen until very recently in Life of Pi. Ang Lee, that great chameleon among contemporary directors, achieves an admirable sense of wonder in this tall tale about a shipwrecked teenager stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a yarn that has been adapted from the compellingly peculiar best-seller with its beguiling preposterousness intact. Like the venerable all-purpose entertainments of Hollywood’s classical era, this exceptionally beautiful 3D production should prove accessible to and embraceable by all manner of audiences, signaling substantial commercial possibilities domestically and probably even moreso internationally.