Movie Review: Life of Pi

With summer vacation winding down, I figured I might as well end it with a bang. I have meant to see this movie, mostly because it’s on the cover of the new 1001 Movies book that won’t be out for another month. Figured I might as well check this one off and get ahead of the game.

It’s breathtaking. The highlights are the special effects and the acting. Just the main part of the film where it’s on the ocean with Pi and the tiger are wonderful to look at as Pi is the only living creature that exists. Acting scared, fighting for his survival, Pi does his best in a CGI landscape.

Now, when I watched it, I saw it on a portable DVD player. Arguably, it’s not how it should be seen but that’s not the point. The tech specs said it was widescreen. It was widescreen, sans black bars, except for two scenes. In the flying fish scene, it becomes letterboxed and the fish actually go beyond the bars, making it look like a trailer for a 3D converted re-release of a 2D film. It then returns to widescreen. In another shot, the film is pillarboxed, making it look square. I had to look at the back to see if this was mentioned. It was not. Normally, something like a change in aspect ratio would be mentioned before the film, like Brother Bear and Tron Legacy. If anyone saw this in theaters, were those scenes like that or were they framed differently?

I found this film to be more engaging than the other visual spectacular, Avatar. When you focus on a man stranded in the middle of the ocean with a tiger and not much else, you have to care for him, regardless of the story being told in flashback. At least I ended on a high note.

9/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

IMDB Top 250

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