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Life of Pi (2012)

Monday, 11. February 2013

Life of Pi
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee
Based on: Yann Martel’s book
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Gérard Depardieu

Plot:
A writer (Rafe Spall) in search of a good story gets the hint that Pi (Irrfan Khan) has an interesting one to tell. So he asks for an interview and hears all about how Pi was shipwrecked and ended up alone on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger – Richard Parker. As if survival alone at sea wasn’t difficult enough. But with the shipwreck, Pi’s journey is only beginning.

I read the book a few years ago and I really didn’t like it. But Ang Lee was enough to draw me into the film anyway. And I am glad I went. Despite the movie’s constant attempts to force god down your throat. The movie was just that beautiful.

lifeofpi

I honestly thought that of the spiritual fantasy movies with a whole lot of visual style that came out in the past couple of monthy, Cloud Atlas would be the one I’d be able to forget the spiritual side of and enjoy it; and Life of Pi would be too much for my atheistic self. And while Life of Pi is much more on the nose with its esoteric crap, it is also so incredibly stunning that it actually makes up for that. When I wasn’t busy rolling my eyes, I sat there with my mouth open and drinking in those sights.

Nevertheless I couldn’t help but wish that the movie would have cut the framing story (especially because it did have a couple of lengths, though nothing too bad) and most of the voice over. Start about 5 minutes before the ship goes down, end it with Pi’s rescue on the beach and you got yourself a great film. [Or, if you put it on mute, you've got the perfect screensaver.]

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Unfortunately, the movie’s ending stuck to the book’s ending and that is one of the most insulting endings in the history of endings. It’s insulting to the audience who are not allowed to think for themselves and it’s insulting to the movie itself that apparently doesn’t trust in its own storytelling. So you get an ending that is pretty much spelling out the OED definition of metaphor for you and that is just annoying.

And despite all of that, they managed to make it work. They managed to keep me enthralled and they managed that I didn’t want to strangle them with their own piety. So, my hat’s off.

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Summarising: If they had just kept god out of this story… but even so, it’s beautiful.

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13 comments

  1. Good review. :)

    PS: I just had a closer look at your gravatar. Is this a freaking spider? =:O


  2. Yes, I meant the pony.
    It looks like a spider on the medium image (at least to me it did). … I was afraid about my state of mind because I remembered seeing the big picture and finding it beautiful and not seeing any spiders at all.
    (And why the happy laugh if there’s a giant spider on you? Omg. … Now I’m glad it’s a nice pony earring.)


    • Well, I’m glad I could do something for your sanity. I guess I never realized how risky my earrings could be. ;)

      But to be honest, it could very well be that I’d still be laughing that happily if there was a spider on me – depends on the spider, I guess. Did I ever tell you the story of me at Happ’s reptile zoo in Klagenfurt when I was a little child?


      • No, you didn’t. Tell me – I intend to go to Happ’s with my kids this week. :)

        And you have to explain your Carinthian ancestry to me one day (how did your mom get to live in Carinthia and for how long and how much of Carinthia do you know?) But in person. :)


        • The story is probably better told on the phone, but here goes: when I was about four or five, we went to Happ’s and as usual they had some animals that you could touch, among them a pretty huge snake. And they asked all the kids who wanted to have the snake on their shoulders and nobody said anything, except me. And so I found myself with this huge snake on my shoulders and everybody was staring at me in awe (especially my little brother). But all I said was, “well, it is pretty heavy.” [Which was not an attempt to be cool, it just was really heavy. I could barely stand upright.]
          My mom loves to tell that story. I think because she was dying a thousand deaths while I had the snake. :)

          Anyway, my Carinthian ancestry is easily explained (my granddad was from Klagenfurt) but it is also a long story that we can go over when I’m there the next time.


          • I need to hear everything about your Carinthian ancestry (but this needs coffee and maybe bagels).

            PS: I’ve already heard the Happ story about you and the snake around your neck. :) … (I think we also discussed that “Helga Happ” is such an Erika Fuchs name?) If me children are as brave as you were I’ll send you photos. :)


          • Also send me pics if the kids don’t want snakes around anybody’s neck. Pics are great. :)


  3. my (me was Freudian, I just considered a snake around my neck)


  4. It will be my pleasure to send you pictures.
    ( If I manage to load my camera’s batteries. oO)


    • You can do it. I have faith in you. ;)


      • Very motivational. :D
        Alas, there are no photos because I had no free hand.

        My kids have both held and petted the snake. I had to save the poor snake from little A. who wanted to (ok, actually did) scratch the snake to try the consistence of the skin… so much for healthy respect or fear.


        • Healthy respect has to be taught as well. So the next time just let the snake bite them or choke them a little. There will be no more scratching. ;)



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