While I like watching films and documentaries, I haven’t been to a cinema in ages for various reasons.

During my trip to Taiwan, friends told me about the film Life of Pi produced and directed by Taiwanese Ang Lee. Some of the scenes were shot at places I visited during my trip to Taiwan. For example at Taipei Zoo or near the city of Taichung. As I enjoyed my trip to Taiwan a lot, this was reason enough for me to see this film in cinema. Last week three colleagues joined me and I finally was able to see Life of Pi.

Honestly I had no idea what the film was about when I made the decision to watch it. I never heard of “Life of Pi” before travelling to Taiwan. The film is based on the fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel which was published in 2001. I’d describe it as a modern fairytale as well, even if there are several serious links as well.

The story begins in French colony Pondichéry in India where the “hero” of the story Pi lives with his parents and brother. They are running a zoo, but during the post-war uncertainties the family decides to load all animals on a ship and move to Canada. There they’d sell the animals, hoping to start a better life. The ship looks like a modern version of Noah’s Ark full with all kind of animals, but also with other passengers.

East of the Philippines the ship runs into a typhoon and sinks quickly. Pi is the only human survivor and ends up unhurt in a lifeboat –
together with an injured zebra, an orangutan, a spotted hyena and a tiger called Richard Parker, who appears only after the hyena killed the zebra and the orangutan. After the lethal fight between the two carnivores only Pi and Richard Parker are left.

The tiger is obviously stronger than Pi and “takes over” the lifeboat, while Pi manages to build a raft which is still linked to the main lifeboat. From here on they start together on an epic journey eastwards across the Pacific Ocean. I won’t be a spoiler and tell how the film ends…

Life of Pi is shown in 3D and I really liked the effects of this. People who saw more films in 3D say though that it can’t match up with Matrix or other “3D masterpieces”. Even if the film has a running time of 127 minutes, I never checked my clock during it (it never got boring), even if more than half of it consists of a tiger and a teenager travelling “together” across the Pacific Ocean. The end is of course not that surprising, but still this was a pretty nice film for an easy evening in the cinema. Hardcore action freaks will be bored as this is a film about man and animal, about survival and in the beginning also about culture and religion.

The users of Internet Movie Database give Life of Pi a 8,2 out of 10 rating, which is in line with my four from five stars rating.
Life of Pi is nominated for eleven oscars in 2013.

Watched at Harmonie, Freiburg – 01/2013 – (€ 10,00)
Rating ****/*****