The book "Life of Pi" won Yann Martel a Booker prize in 2002. I remember the book well as it was the first book to be studied by our newly formed church based book group. It proved to be a good choice as it provided a source for rich discussion about the nature of belief, the exclusivity of religious claims and the use of story to explain events, amongst other themes.
Now, over ten years later, the film adaptation has come out and I was absolutely captivated by it. It is a brilliant piece of cinematography and it also sticks firmly to the plot as it recreates the atmosphere of the original novel.
The film is supposedly a marvel in 3D - I only saw it in an ordinary cinema but the appearances of Richard Parker frequently had me jumping out of my seat. I can't imagine how much more jump inducing the 3D version is!
The story is a tale of adventure and endurance as the teenage Pi survives a shipwreck in the company of a hungry Bengal tiger. The tiger was a creation of CGI magic animation as was the sea and in some places Pi too! It must be the most successful use of these animation technologies I have yet seen.
In the story the divinity Pi sought in childhood
appears to him in thunderous tempests, galaxies of bioluminescent plankton,
and mysterious islands with strange secrets at their core. Pi also encounters himself in a deep and meaningful way in the constant struggle
for survival of a young man who is forced to share a lifeboat with a full size
The novel’s grimly repellent coda, the alternate story, remains
intact and leaves you puzzling about which story you want to believe was true. It’s a tale that makes the most of an unfettered imagination
and the possibilities of storytelling, as well as avoiding an over-reliance on the facts that make up actual life.
It is an adventure story that has a deep spirituality embedded in it, born out of a deeply moving and life changing experience of survival. I highly recommend the film.