‘Life of Pi’ arguably one of the best movies of the year

All good memories of delicious Thanksgiving pies have been put aside in favor of a new delicacy in town.

But this is no fruity dessert.

“Life of Pi” hit theaters around the country on Nov. 21, and though it is most definitely one of the best movies of the year, it may not be at the top of everyone’s list.

If you can’t handle seeing animals in pain, this review probably won’t do you any good. This zoo won’t spare any of your kindhearted emotions.

“Life of Pi” is an adaptation of a novel written by Yann Martel in 2001. The book and the film, which is very similar to the book, tell the story of a boy named Pi Patel, who lives with his family in India.

Pi is unique in several ways. First, he is interested mainly in two things, which later become his majors in college: religion and zoology. Pi practices three religions – Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam – in his daily life, and his father owns a zoo.

Because of various political and economic issues, Pi’s father decides to move the family to Canada so Pi and his brother can have a chance at a happy life. In order to save a penny, however, the Patel family ends up boarding a ship that is sailing to take the zoo animals – which the family sold – to their new homes in North America.

The ship wrecks and Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with only a zebra, orangutan, hyena and tiger for company.

Just a fair warning – they don’t all survive. So if you’re looking for a movie where everyone lives happily ever after, this may not be the film for you. And if you’re not sure, read the book. They’re alike enough that you’ll know right away whether you want to see it on the big screen.

But if these aspects won’t deter you, “Life of Pi” is one movie that will not disappoint. From the gorgeous opening credits set in India to the tragic portrayal of a stranded Pi – played by Suraj Sharma – this one will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The visuals alone in this movie are comparable to a work of art. Even the animals – which are mostly digitally animated – look real. Most viewers won’t catch every scene in which the animated tiger is switched out for a real one. It’s that good.

Since the animals in “Life of Pi” don’t have to do much acting – considering the on-screen is only real less than half the time – most of the weight lies on Sharma in this department. But he delivers it flawlessly, and makes the viewer believe that he is indeed stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a grown Bengal Tiger.

You can’t make this stuff up, but Yann Martel can. And, clearly, director Ang Lee has no problem bringing the masterpiece to life.

He may look like a piece of pie to the hungry tiger, but this kid is much stronger – and smarter – than meets the eye.

All dessert jokes aside, “Life of Pi” is a movie worth seeing, regardless of whether you’ve taken the time to read the novel.

 

KELLY MORELAND

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