Tuesday, October 22, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Life of Pi

2012, Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, Eat Drink Man Woman) -- Netflix

There are some movies that you should see on the big screen. Pacific Rim is good on the small screen (yes, I got the BluRay on Tuesday *squeeeee*) but you really haven't seen it unless you've seen the big monsters big and heard the boom over large speakers. I do not think it would be worth seeing Gravity on a small screen.  This is one such film, but not for the explicit details you might miss or the large soundscape that most home sound systems can't handle. This movie is meant to be seen on a large screen, like a large painting should be seen at the museum in life size, in all its glory and bright colour. This movie is just stunning in its colour and grandeur. I regret not seeing it 12 feet high.

If you don't recall, the movie is the screen adaptation of a very very popular short novel from Yann Martel.  The story is of a young man trapped in a life raft with a tiger who together survive an ocean crossing.  I have not read the story, in my usual dismissing of things that are extremely popular, and assumed that the movie must have worked masterfully (yes, I am a fan of Lee) at extending the short premise into an entire Hollywood movie. But no; if i read my summaries correctly, the entirety of the story dominates the movie with very little artistic license, beyond the use of incredible visuals to supplement the fantastical nature of the story itself. It makes me want to go back and read the book.

One element of the movie, that I assumed was added to bring the story down to earth, and yes, *SPOILER* was the rendition of an alternate meaning for the circumstances told by Pi to the Japanese officials, whose ship was lost. He tells a much more realistic and gruesome version of being trapped on the life raft for so long, not with tiger and zebra and hyena but with other less than wholesome humans. While I am not religious, I rather enjoy the element of life being a story and that story is better with God. For me, I translate that to 'life is better with wonderment'. This is an essential part of human nature that adults give up far too early. I only hope I can keep my own story alive and full of fantasy, not dragged down by gruesome details.