The closest Ang Lee has ever come to making a massive studio film was 2003’s comic book misfire “Hulk.” Since then, he’s cemented his status as a true auteur with “Brokeback Mountain” and now takes on what is probably his most challenging project to date, a 3-D adaptation of Yann Martel’s beloved novel “Life of Pi.”
Pi, a young Indian, is traveling by freighter to America with his family and the cache of animals that lived at their zoo back home when a storm strikes, sinking the ship. The only survivors are Pi and a few animals, including a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The two form an unlikely alliance as they struggle to survive being lost at sea with dwindling supplies and no end in sight. Pi learns how to work with Richard as they encounter whales, fish that jump out of the sea, and a mysterious island, though sadly not of the “Lost” variety.
“Life of Pi” was considered an impossible novel to adapt to the screen, but Lee has pulled it off in spectacular fashion. Filming “Pi” in 3-D instead of going the post-conversion route, every image literally pops off the screen, especially when the aspect ratio is altered to enhance the feeling of things jumping out of the screen. The only other films that have utilized the format as well as “Pi” are “Hugo” and “Avatar.”
“Pi” is a unique tale of survival and friendship, and its PG rating ensures that the entire family can enjoy this unique and compelling film. The amazing 3-D alone makes the movie worth seeing and one of the movies to check out this holiday season.