movies: life of pi

life of pi
I'm not going to beat around the bush, I was supremely underwhelmed by Life of Pi.

I was underwhelmed by the way the movie looked... whether it suffered from the "we're going to make this in 3D so that's where all the flash and visual spectacle is going to be, so we won't worry about the 2D version". I'm not saying that there weren't one or two beautiful scenes... but I was expecting the whole thing to be gorgeous, and it was just underwhelming.

And because so much of the movie is CGI or some other kind of visual effect, I didn't always buy into it. I know it would have been completely impossible to make this movie given the "animal actors" without CGI, but it meant that I never completely bought the tiger or the fish or the orangutan or the meerkats or the whale.

I also had a lot of the same problems with the story that I did with the book. When I read the book it took me a really long time to slog through all the stuff that happens before Pi ends up on the lifeboat with the tiger. It all seemed completely superfluous and dull... and not what I signed up for. The movie does the same... it drags out the story of Pi before the shipwreck... and to be honest, almost none of it is all that relevant to the main part of the story and all of it could have been left on the cutting room floor and not affected the main part of the movie.

I'm also going to mention (although not discuss in a lot of detail) the twist in the end of the story, so if you haven't read the story, skip over the next paragraph.

When I read the novel, I was caught up in the big reveal that the whole story was made up to protect Pi from having to think about the much darker and more grizzly tale of what actually happened and his part in it. But when it came up in the movie, I found that I just felt cheated that what I'd just witnessed in the last hour and a half was all fake. I wasn't engaged with Pi, so I just felt like he was wasting my time. And when he asks the character playing the author of the book which story he prefers, I just wanted to go "the true story, not this big pack of lies". To be honest, the brief scene where he tells the real story of what happened was actually more engaging and interesting to me than most of the rest of it.

Which isn't to say that Suraj Sharma who plays Pi wasn't good... for a first time actor who essentially carries 75% of the film, he's excellent... but for whatever reason I just didn't buy into the character... partly because there are a couple of sequences where he does incredibly stupid things and I found that frustrating.

And given that 75% of the movie is Pi in a boat with a CGI tiger, there's not really much else to say other than I was underwhelmed.

yani's rating: 0 floating bananas out of 5

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