Life of Pi Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews the film, Life of Pi about a boy and his very big cat!
By: Lynn Barker
In India, a boy is intimidated by the regal tiger in his family’s zoo. When a shipwreck puts the big cat and the now teen guy together as survivors, they must learn to coexist until rescued or die.
Life of Pi at Home
The adult Pi tells a young journalist his amazing childhood story of shipwreck and rescue. Young Pi, a smart tween growing up in India, is teased by his classmates who relate his name more to Pee than Pi. Turning inward, his curiosity leads him to explore the Hindu, Christian and Islam religions not settling on any one of them. His attraction to a gorgeous Bengal tiger named Richard Parker (don’t ask) leads him to risk hand feeding the animal. His dad, keeper of the family zoo, is furious and forces to the boy to realize just how dangerous the wild tiger is.
Not faring well in India, the family is moving to Canada by sea with the zoo animals. Onboard, a gruff cook, obviously a bigot, yells at the family for not eating meat. The ship founders in a storm and Pi ends up on a lifeboat alone with a zebra, a vicious hyena, an orangutan and tiger Richard Parker. Needless-to-say things don’t go well for the animals who go into predator/prey mode. Finally, only terrified Pi and the tiger are left.
Life or Death at Sea
At first Pi stays away from the tiger by building and living on a little raft that he ties to the boat. Sea creatures, comic moments, a visit to a very mysterious island and more storms finally throw boy and tiger together and they form a shaky then seemingly strong friendship as they struggle to find food and survive.
Rescue and Revelation
Almost dead, Pi and tiger are washed ashore in Mexico where the tiger just walks away into the jungle. In the hospital, the Japanese ship owner’s lawyers ask Pi to tell them why the boat sank and his story. As he relates it and the men don’t believe him, he tells an entirely different story of death and survival that doesn’t involve animals at all but does include the mean and bigoted ship’s cook. Which do they believe? Which will the journalist believe? Which will you believe?
Based on the popular novel by Yann Martel, director Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is an amazing visual masterpiece. Wow! Fantasy worlds and rough, realistic yet sometimes beautiful adventures at sea are impressive especially in 3-D as is the mostly computer-generated tiger (real tigers were used in some scenes). The movie is just a mind-blowing visual feast. However, I would not recommend the film for sensitive kids who are easily frightened or even for teens who don’t deal well with intense scenes involving animals although the movie is rated PG.
Whether you are religious or not, you can identify with young Pi’s search for the meaning of life; why is he here and does the Universe or God have a plan for him? I have a problem with the film’s ending. I admit that I have not read the novel upon which the movie is based so I don’t know if it wraps up in the same way but a dual possibility ending left me confused and rather sad.
For being visually stunning the film would get 5 stars. With the movie’s confusing and unsatisfying dual ending, I have to go 3.
Life of Pi Movie Review: