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Life of Pi a Cinematic "Marvel"

by TonyBerkman (editor), Costa Rica, November 24, 2012

Credit: 20th Century Fox Film Corp
Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi

Reviewers are astonished by the Visions in "Life of Pi", Ang Lee's flick based on the novel about a boy and a tiger that struggle to survive at sea.

There is some disagreement about whether the movie's story and theological questions hold up to its vision:

Rotten Tomatoes says "Director Ang Lee creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery."

The New York Times says the film "unfolds in a setting that is one of the great achievements of digital cinema, and a reminder that the eclectic Mr. Lee is, among other things, an exuberant and inventive visual artist." ... "There are images in 'Life of Pi' that are so beautiful, so surprising, so right that I hesitate to describe them."

The Los Angeles Times says that the film is a "masterpiece." "So magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone."

Roger Ebert calls the movie one of the year's best. It is "a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery," and furthermore "a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to 'life.'" "I've never seen [3D] better employed," he writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.

HuffPost's, Marshall Fine, says the movie "is as though Lee is painting the film as you watch it. The colors swirl and blend, yet they also define an environment that is at once idyllic and hellish. Shooting on the water -- and underneath it, at times -- he makes Life of Pi a hallucinatory vision of a stark reality."

Slate's Dana Stevens must be have be thinking along the same line as Michael Fine's "hallucinatory vision" when she says, "the long middle section—the movie’s strongest stretch— plays like a hallucinogenic mashup of Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, the reality show I Shouldn’t Be Alive, and a soothing promotional video that might play on a loop in the waiting room of a very fancy Ayurvedic spa." She recommends that you "See it stoned."

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2 comments on Life of Pi a Cinematic "Marvel"

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By darinlhammond on November 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

Well, Tony, I am not daunted by the mixed reviews because this is one of my favorite novels, mesmorizing in detail and creativity. Most of the reviews you cite see the movie through my vision of the novel, and I'll take their word for it. Ang Lee has tremendous creative power, and I can only imagine the beauty that some of the reviewers describe.

Thank you for providing the various reviews, short and to the point. This kind of synthesis and curation is important for people like me who want most of the work done - easy to process and accurate in capturing the content of each review.

Have you read the book? I listened to it, and it is my favorite audiobook, an example of how a great reader can add to the story. With his Indian accent, the book really comes to life. If you haven't read it, I recommend the audio version.

Thanks again Tony.

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By Angie Alaniz on November 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Ive seen the movie being advertised and it does look enticing with its hallucinatory vision.

I do believe it will be on my list of holiday movies to go watch during this Christmas season.

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