First Hit: Extraordinary visualization of the story and a little long winded.
This film is worth seeing in 3D because it is, at times, visually arresting.
It is hard making something this beautiful when most of the film is on the blue water, with a blue sky, and a single white boat. But Ang Lee makes it work extremely well. What didn’t work, like the book, was the long winded set up.
A writer comes to visit Pi Patel (Adult character played by Irrfan Khan), to hear his amazing story. Their dialog and the early set up of Pi’s life takes up more of the screen time than necessary. In a book it is sometimes necessary to create long narratives to ensure the readers get the picture.
With film, it is an easier task to make the picture clear in the audience (a picture is worth a thousand words) and this film is proof. Finally when we do get into the heart of the story with Pi Patel (played by Suraj Sharma) it with amazement that we watch how he navigates and negotiates life of living on a small 26-foot lifeboat with initially, an orangutan, zebra, hyena and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
Nature takes its course with the animals so it comes down to just the tiger and Pi creating a tentative working relationship. Again, just like the beginning, it seems as though we spend more time on the water than necessary. There could have been 10 minutes taken out and it would have made no difference to the story. Then we have, like in the book, the questionable ending.
Outside of these issues, this film was very joyous to watch.
Khan was perfect as the older Pi Patel in that he brought the kind of earnestness and life view that could only have been gained from such an adventure. Sharma was wonderful as the boy who had to become a man by living through 200+ days on the sea with a Bengal tiger. He did this through his ability to learn, grow and be creative in his determination. David Magee wrote a screenplay that was right in line with the Yann Martel’s novel. Ang Lee did an amazing job with the visual part of the film, some snipping of its length would have enhanced it.
Overall: This was an amazingly beautiful film to watch and is worth the 3D price.