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."