Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012
The Big Screen: Root of 'Pi': A visually stunning, moving experience
By Kevin Vaughn
Yann Martel's "Life of Pi" is to book lovers what "The Godfather" might be to film buffs.
The story is about an Indian boy, Pi, on a small boat for 227 days with a hungry Bengal tiger.
His zookeeper parents have decided to leave their home in India and set sail to Canada to start fresh. Their faith is put to the test when the ship sinks (in a beautiful and haunting scene) and the only survivors are Pi, a tiger named Richard Parker, and a slew of other wild animals.
The story is told by the adult Pi, played by Irrfan Khan ("Slumdog Millionaire").
Khan proves himself to be a formidable young actor.
But perhaps the most astonishing part of this film is that much of the movie is digital.
Rather than casting a trained tiger, Richard Parker is a computer creation. It's a difficult task for a young actor (Suraj Sharma) who had no prior acting experience.
This is his first and only role to date, and an impressive debut.
It is amazing the fear and tenderness that Sharma conveys with a tiger that he had to imagine was there.
In the hands of another director, this may have been a disappointment.
In "Pi," Ang Lee uses 3-D technology to breathe incredible life into his film.
We don't feel as if we are watching a movie, we feel as if we are living this magical experience.