Life Of Pi Review

When I was a boy, I used to believe in magic.

As I got older, I pretended to be a grown up and started to forget how magical things used to make me feel.

Now, I’m not so sure what I believe, but one thing’s for sure; there’s a healthy sprinkling of magic in the wondrous Life Of Pi.

Now Pi sounds like it should be the kind of name you give to a mathematician, but actually it’s French.

As in short for piscine.

I don’t really know what’d possess a father to name their son after a swimming pool, but shortening this to Pi seemed like making the best of a bad hand.

And If you’d gone to an all boy’s school with an easily mispronounced name like Piscine, who wouldn’t find a way to shorten this to Pi?

Anyway, Pi is a clever little chap with a hearing problem.

Actually, his ears work fine; it’s just that Pi’s head is forever stuck in the clouds, so whenever people are talking to him he usually misses most of this.

That goes double for his frustrated yet patient father’s words.

Not that it matters too much to Pi, for he’s on his own journey and decided from an early age that he needs to make his own choices in life.

Like deciding to hand feed their tiger, Richard Parker, so he can look him in the eye and see if he has a soul.

Personally, I’d blame the father for choosing to move his family into a zoo.

Pi’s dad soon realises the folly of his ways and decides its time he upped his family’s sticks from their zoo in India to somewhere that’s definitely not a zoo in Canada, which goes down a storm with our young hero.

Papa’s great ideas don’t stop there though, and he also decides to bring their zoo animals along for the ride to sell on the other side of the pacific so they can make a whole heap of money.

As with most paterfamiliases’ great ideas, tragedy and farce soon engulf his family on their journey over, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with only a zebra, a hyena and an orang-utan for company.

Oh, and the tiger Richard Parker.

Now that may all sound faintly ridiculous, but then Life Of Pi is.

Directed by Ang Lee, Life Of Pi is essentially a story about science, faith and how we feel we have to choose between believing in one or the other.

There are some things here that don’t quite add up, not that you’ll care as the magical visuals of Life Of Pi will have long swept you away to a time and place when you used to believe in magic.

Which, in my case, seems to be when I was about 8 and a half years old.

The stunning 3D effects are akin to standing underneath an amazing fireworks display and, compared to a lot of other 3D films I’ve seen, Lee truly integrates these into the story of Life Of Pi that was previously considered un-filmable.

It won’t be for everyone, especially if you don’t like big cats, but in this saturated age of ridiculously over the top superhero films we seem to have entered, Life Of Pi’s gentle yet fantastical nature is most welcome.

And if you’ve lost your faith in magic, this film might just help restore that.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

December 2012