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Life Of Pi Discussion

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

 

This picture always made me dread this movie. Always looked like it was about a giant tiger and a shrunken boy. Am I the only one thrown off by this?

 

Anyway, I liked it quite a bit, but it's very much this year's "Hugo." While that film dealt with the insular world of cinemania, this copes more with faith... it's probably best suited for verrrrry open-minded pre-teens, since the sincerity will throw off teenagers (with their ITunes and their IPhones and all their gadgets and the hippity hops!), and it's too slow and talky for the littlest ones. I only say this because it's the holidays, and some of you will deal with tiny relatives squirming in their seats.

 

That being said, maybe the best 3D I've ever seen. An equal amount of corny "comin' atcha!" moments and gorgeous moment-accented additions. It really feels like another world, and seeing all those animals bursting from the screen is pretty incredible. Gorgeous visuals and a great score by Mychael Danna too.

 

Never read the book, but the story is a kid from India who has to survive at sea with a tiger, as his family has just passed away in a hectic boat crash that eliminated all remnants of the family zoo. And no, this tiger is not cuddly - the film takes great pains to establish that this is a predator who will fuck this kid up if he's not careful. Though they never answer the question as to where the tiger takes a shit, given that they're on the boat for months.

 

Curious to see what everyone thinks of this. It's a pretty unusual picture.

post #2 of 47

I was definitely expecting a tiger shit sequence. Oh well, video it is.

post #3 of 47

Probably over the side.

 

post #4 of 47

I loved it.  I haven't read the book either, so I don't know how it works as an adaptation.  Absolutely gorgeous, and would really like to see it again on an IMAX.

 

The only thing that I didn't like about the "coming at ya!" 3D was the sequence that was shown in theaters earlier this year, when they are being attacked (?) by flying fish.  When that scene starts, all of a sudden there are letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the screen.  They use it to show fist flying in front of the bars, I guess to enhance the fish flying out of the screen effect, but I just found it kind of distracting.

post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe T View Post

Curious to see what everyone thinks of this. It's a pretty unusual picture.

 

I'm curious myself. The current "It's the next AVATAR!" ads aren't doing me any favors.

post #6 of 47

Yeah, I don't understand the whole "Next Avatar" thing.  They are both in 3D, and they both feature heavy uses of luminescence at time.  Let's see, what else? Both feature humans.  Both are fiction.  That's all I got.

post #7 of 47

Can we talk spoilers? I've read the book and love it, and I'm wondering how the movie handles the ending. Or the kelp island. Or if we see Pi popping the shells off of sea turtles and eatin' 'em.

post #8 of 47

I'm really torn about this.  On one hand, I love Ang Lee...and on the other hand, I found the book's messages about faith, and the character of Pi himself, unbelievably fucking annoying, especially during its inane, self-satisfied ending (although certain other moments, like Yann Martel's references to agnosticism, also irk).  

post #9 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D.T. View Post

Can we talk spoilers? I've read the book and love it, and I'm wondering how the movie handles the ending. Or the kelp island. Or if we see Pi popping the shells off of sea turtles and eatin' 'em.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco Senior View Post

I'm really torn about this.  On one hand, I love Ang Lee...and on the other hand, I found the book's messages about faith, and the character of Pi himself, unbelievably fucking annoying, especially during its inane, self-satisfied ending (although certain other moments, like Yann Martel's references to agnosticism, also irk).  

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Well, there's the kelp island, and it's definitely a gorgeous sequence. Structurally, it's a real momentum stopper, arriving near the third act, but it's so gorgeously handled and paced so well independently that I didn't complain. There's no sea turtle mutilation though.

 
And yeah, the character of Pi isn't all that endearing. I appreciated his outlook and was excited by his survival attempts, but the actor doesn't have much. The film has that framing device of adult Pi telling this story, however, and Irrfan Khan is great as old Pi, really warm, really engaging stuff.

 

post #10 of 47

Just got back from seeing it and I loved it. One of the most emotionally riveting experiences I've ever had in a movie theater. The 3D was the best I've ever seen and the guy who played old Pi deserves some nominations come awards time. One of my favorites so far this year.

post #11 of 47

Liked it, didn't really love it. I suspect having just finished the book a few weeks ago, and so it was fresh in my mind, may have had something to do with it. However, I can say there were some absolutely wonderful scenes, like the floating island, that were just perfect. They nailed the goodbye scene and I admit, I was tearing up. Though I often tear up at goodbyes between humans and non-humans (see Cast Away). Suraj Sharma was...decent, though incredibly irritating at times, he did a good job for what he was presented with; either acting by himself or with a tiger, I guess I just wished for a little more out of him. I didn't get a religious experience from him, or the movie, though it was like walking into a beautiful old church and suspecting, if only briefly, that maaaaaaybe the Big Guy does exist.

 

Does anyone know how much real cat they used? I know some of Richard Parker had to be CGI, but I'll be damned if I know entirely which (outside of emaciated, hungry kitty).

 

Sad to see one of my favorite scenes from the novel be cut:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

There's an excellent scene wherein, out in the middle of the Pacific, blinded by hunger, thirst and all manner of physical ailments, Pi and Richard encounter another castaway and strike up a conversation. Pi can't see the man, and for half of the scene, we're led to believe it's Richard talking. The cat ends up killing the man, who is very, very real.

 

The book made Pi's survival first and foremost, and every day was a struggle. Here, it's almost too beautiful and to me at least, felt too easy for him.

post #12 of 47

I'm also in the "Liked It, Didn't Love It" camp.  It was visually dazzling and never boring, so I give it that.

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I thought it was a huge cop-out to have the reporter confirm that there was actually a tiger.  I much prefer the ambiguous interpretation that Pi alludes to.  Did the book end on such a definitive interpretation?

post #13 of 47

Ratty,

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The movie ends with the exact words from the book, though in the book, the words are from the two Japanese insurance guys who are writing it down in their report and not the writer. Actually, which I suppose was exactly how it ended in the movie, too, come to think of it. He was just reading it off of the report. So...yes, that's how the book ended.

post #14 of 47

I have yet to read the book, but the movie looks intriguing.  I bought 1984 Christmas Carol on blu-ray this weekend for 10 bucks and I got a movie ticket for Life of Pi.  I assume it is very much worth the free pass?

post #15 of 47

I think so.  It didn't take me all the way, but I loved the journey.

 

I ended up really tuning out the story he tells at the end of the film.  Gimme pictures!!!

post #16 of 47

Yeah I was looking forward to the "retell" of the story at the end. Was kinda hoping they'd drop hints along the way, like giving that sailor they talk to a black and white color scheme (maybe they did), and maybe cutting back to what we saw and quickly replacing it with what may have happened. Too much telling, not enough showing.

post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Happenin View Post

Yeah I was looking forward to the "retell" of the story at the end. Was kinda hoping they'd drop hints along the way, like giving that sailor they talk to a black and white color scheme (maybe they did), and maybe cutting back to what we saw and quickly replacing it with what may have happened. Too much telling, not enough showing.

I think that would have been far too obvious, which defeats the purpose of an ambiguous ending.

post #18 of 47

That would definitely take away the feeling of ambiguity.  But after the movie spends 2 hours of showing glorious images of the fantastical story and then mutter off the other version in a single shot monologue... it was such a come down that I kinda tuned it out.  I realize that is partially the intent, but it almost worked TOO well.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

So the comment about the tiger at the end... I missed something.  Is it that there was a tiger on the lifeboat?  Or just on the ship at the beginning?

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

That would definitely take away the feeling of ambiguity.  But after the movie spends 2 hours of showing glorious images of the fantastical story and then mutter off the other version in a single shot monologue... it was such a come down that I kinda tuned it out.  I realize that is partially the intent, but it almost worked TOO well.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

So the comment about the tiger at the end... I missed something.  Is it that there was a tiger on the lifeboat?  Or just on the ship at the beginning?

But I think that's the point and why some people view Life of Pi as bleak rather than uplifting. I dunno, I really enjoyed that part.

 

Oh, I never gave my thoughts on the film. I absolutely loved. Went in not expect anything besides some glowing review, came out basically mesmerized by the entire thing. I haven't been this captivated by a film since Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

post #20 of 47

Some serious Miyazaki clouds all up in this movie.

 

Also, I loved the aspect ratio shifts. I think movies like this should do it more!!!

 

It even went to 1.33:1 for a single establishing shot, though I don't know why.  Hahahah

post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

 

It even went to 1.33:1 for a single establishing shot, though I don't know why.  Hahahah

 

I think, think, they went to 1.33 for that one shot, because it emulated the original jacket cover of the novel.  Just a hunch.

post #22 of 47

I figured I'd enjoy the movie, but man was I totally unprepared for how spectacular it would be.  I haven't seen Lincoln yet (or Holy Motors, or Django, or Zero Dark Thirty, or Les Mis, or The Hobbit...), but this is the best movie of the year so far imo.  I was not exposed to the book, and I think that may have helped my enjoyment.  It didn't matter that I realized very early on



Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

that I was watching a parable about parables.

 

I am not a religious man in the least, but I think the story captures, intelligently, and earnestly, a deep truth about religion.  For me, art very much fills the void where religion would have otherwise taken hold.  Art connects me, emotionally, with truths about the world and the human condition that my analytic disposition often cannot.  Reason helps us to understand truths.  Art, stories, religion, help us feel them.  I think this film captures that conceit in a beautiful and engaging way, itself very much the thing it is explaining.

post #23 of 47

FINALLY saw this last night.  Visually, stunning.  But the 3d further engrossed me into the story.  That young actor who was the teen Pi in most of the movie, did an outstanding job.  And Rafe Spall as the Writer, redeemed himself in this movie (remember him from Prometheus).  

 

But seriously - this was a complete movie.  Visually, story wise, etc.  It's all there.  

 

 

Oh, and holy shit:  I remember when Gerard Depardieu was one good looking guy.  Whoa.

post #24 of 47

Judd, I just saw this movie and I raced here because I knew somebody would be able to help me nail down my thoughts on the ending and the themes in general.

post #25 of 47

It's too bad this is falling through the cracks, it's an extremely well handled film. It deserves to be seen in 3D, and to be considered for the year end awards. I would have expected to see it on more Top Tens.

post #26 of 47

It's easily my favourite film of the year, I've had the soundtrack on a loop the last week.  It's also the first film since Avatar that justifies 3D to me, even though I'm tired of wearing the stupid glasses.

 

The only flaw of the film for me is a very jarring Gerard Depardieu.

post #27 of 47

It's such a beautiful movie, but it's also such a god damn shame that it's ultimate message is horseshit that I completely disagree with.  Which do you prefer?  The harsh horror of reality, or the beautiful spiritual majestic tale that represents religion and faith?  The movie is essentially saying it's OK to give yourself over to religion and belief in order to deal with trauma because imagination and ignorance is easier to deal with. 

post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeman View Post

It's such a beautiful movie, but it's also such a god damn shame that it's ultimate message is horseshit that I completely disagree with.  Which do you prefer?  The harsh horror of reality, or the beautiful spiritual majestic tale that represents religion and faith?  The movie is essentially saying it's OK to give yourself over to religion and belief in order to deal with trauma because imagination and ignorance is easier to deal with. 

 

Hmm, one way of looking at it.  In my own review, I concentrated on how the film deals with stories and parables.

 

"though its rumination on the nature of religion might not be bought by all viewers, the film reminds us of the power of stories. The stories our ancestors told around a campfire to get through the night, the stories we tell each other to get through life. Why a truth is conveyed more effectively in metaphor, than literally."

 

Pi asks the author which story he prefers, and Rafe Spall prefers the one with the tiger, because that story inspires hope from tragedy, whereas the other story does not inspire at all but leaves one depressed about the state of the world.  "So it is with God" Pi says.

 

I don't think the film is saying ignore reality, I think it's more about how stories, myths and religions are created, and why.  But that's just what I took from it.

post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cognizant View Post

Pi asks the author which story he prefers, and Rafe Spall prefers the one with the tiger, because that story inspires hope from tragedy, whereas the other story does not inspire at all but leaves one depressed about the state of the world.  "So it is with God" Pi says.

 

I don't think the film is saying ignore reality, I think it's more about how stories, myths and religions are created, and why.  But that's just what I took from it.

 

This. A million times this.

post #30 of 47

That's beautifully said, and I a wonderful point, but there's a counter point to be mined from all of this. 

 

He takes hours to tell his imaginary tale.  He tells the story of what really happened in about ten seconds with zero flair to further empathize how gross and nasty it was.  The movie is loading the debate.

post #31 of 47

In all fairness, that's more of a flaw of the movie than the story.

post #32 of 47

The "believe the lie" argument that the movie seems to be making would be annoying if there wasn't some serious ambiguity as to which version is real. Remember, Pi spouts the "realistic" version of the story after the Japanese insurance guys basically reject his story, saying they need something to report to their bosses, who they don't think will buy this weird-ass tale about surviving with a tiger. But does that mean it's actually what happened? This is obviously a point about religion as well--the idea that people never believe in miracles when someone else reports them. The movie may be making the case that there are things in this world (I'm thinking of the kelp island in particular) that we can't understand, and reject as "fables" even if they actually happened. (Which, of course, can raise hackles as well if you're not religious, which I'm not. But I think the larger point is valid, sometimes the truth is weirder than fiction.)

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that right after hearing the "realistic" version of the story, Spall's character then literally spells out what all the animals on the boat represented. That's the version of the story for unimaginative pedants. The movie wants to leave that open as an option, but I think it also wants to be a mirror for the viewer. If you demand that everything be tied up neatly, then this is the "solution" to Pi's story. But it's possible that what really happened is a lot weirder and less explicable than that and can't be analyzed. That option is open too. And I don't think it has to be that one version of the story is definitely "true" and the other "false", either. It's possible that large stretches of the tiger story are true, but mixed with embellishment. For that matter, I doubt Pi himself is particularly clear on what happened--it would hardly be surprising if he spent most of his time at sea in a borderline-hallucinatory state.
 

post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cognizant View Post

Hmm, one way of looking at it.  In my own review, I concentrated on how the film deals with stories and parables.

"though its rumination on the nature of religion might not be bought by all viewers, the film reminds us of the power of stories. The stories our ancestors told around a campfire to get through the night, the stories we tell each other to get through life. Why a truth is conveyed more effectively in metaphor, than literally."

You mean a truth can be conveyed more effectively in a metaphor. It's not a given, right? And in the case of Life of Pi I felt the story Pi told at the end was more powerful, vivid and compelling than the one he told throughout the movie. Which I mean as more of a comment on the power of the second story than any lack of power in the first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Happenin View Post

Liked it, didn't really love it. I suspect having just finished the book a few weeks ago, and so it was fresh in my mind, may have had something to do with it. However, I can say there were some absolutely wonderful scenes, like the floating island, that were just perfect. They nailed the goodbye scene and I admit, I was tearing up. Though I often tear up at goodbyes between humans and non-humans (see Cast Away). Suraj Sharma was...decent, though incredibly irritating at times, he did a good job for what he was presented with; either acting by himself or with a tiger, I guess I just wished for a little more out of him. I didn't get a religious experience from him, or the movie, though it was like walking into a beautiful old church and suspecting, if only briefly, that maaaaaaybe the Big Guy does exist.

Does anyone know how much real cat they used? I know some of Richard Parker had to be CGI, but I'll be damned if I know entirely which (outside of emaciated, hungry kitty).

Sad to see one of my favorite scenes from the novel be cut: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There's an excellent scene wherein, out in the middle of the Pacific, blinded by hunger, thirst and all manner of physical ailments, Pi and Richard encounter another castaway and strike up a conversation. Pi can't see the man, and for half of the scene, we're led to believe it's Richard talking. The cat ends up killing the man, who is very, very real.

The book made Pi's survival first and foremost, and every day was a struggle. Here, it's almost too beautiful and to me at least, felt too easy for him.

This is almost exactly how i felt about the film, except that I read the book about a decade ago and had forgotten a bunch of scenes from it. I remembered the carnivorous island though. I think that was the point in both the novel and the film where I was convinced Pi was an unreliable narrator.
post #34 of 47
Just saw it. Beautiful. Some really stunning, stunning work in there.

I'm not sure I understood it any more than when I read the book (I still have no real clue as to the meaning of the island), but damn it was just so stunning to look at.

The squid attacking whale, bursting into zoo animals is one of the tripiest things I've seen.

I also loved how he pated down his Hulk editing into this movie. Also I think the only movie I've seen where they had a visual rendition of the cover of the book.
post #35 of 47

I was utterly, utterly floored by this.

 

On a purely visual level this was like nothing I've ever seen. The ship wreck, the island, the psychadelic underwater trip. Just stunning.

 

And that Tiger. He was entirely convincing. Even Gollum, a miraculous technical achievement, still has something of the uncanny valley about him, but Richard Parker was perfect.

 

Just loved it.

post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post


(I still have no real clue as to the meaning of the island),

 

This is based off my reading of the book from a year and a half ago, but I think the island represents religion itself. It will feed you, it will nourish you, and you can spend your entire life in it, and never need to go anywhere else. But its darker (night time) motives and activities will burn you. If you question it too much, you can't stay. The meerkats here would be the lemmings, the people who unquestioningly follow what seems to be the natural order, without realizing it is an oddity, not the norm.  


Edited by MrTyres - 2/2/13 at 2:35pm
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTyres View Post

 

This is based off my reading of the book from a year and a half ago, but I think the island represents religion itself. It will feed you, it will nourish you, and you can spend your entire life in it, and never need to go anywhere else. But its darker (night time) motives and activities, will burn you. If you question it too much, you can't stay. The meerkats here would be the lemmings, the people who unquestioningly follow what seems to be the natural order, without realizing it is an oddity, not the norm.  

 

that is, by far and away, the best analysis of that I have read.  Fantastic, thank you so much :)  

post #38 of 47

OMG, that is so not the message.  The message is choice.  The choice to either believe or not to believe in something.  Its about accepting others for what they believe and not persecuting them because they choose a different realty.  Its about acceptance.  Acceptance that their may be more "right" answers to the same question.  Too many people expect a miracle to come into their laps when the word God is uttered.  This isn't about God, it's about choice.

post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTyres View Post

 

This is based off my reading of the book from a year and a half ago, but I think the island represents religion itself. It will feed you, it will nourish you, and you can spend your entire life in it, and never need to go anywhere else. But its darker (night time) motives and activities will burn you. If you question it too much, you can't stay. The meerkats here would be the lemmings, the people who unquestioningly follow what seems to be the natural order, without realizing it is an oddity, not the norm.  

Because someone said that this book represents religion, yall buy into that.  The island represented the cost of living alone that during the day, you could be productive and live an existence but at night, the reality would creep in that the longer you stayed, that loneliness would eat you alive.  The meerkats were just meerkats.  Not everything written is symbolic.  BTW, the latin root for the word religion is religio which means to restrict.  So nothing eye opening about your flawed basis that religion is restrictive.  It comes with the territory.  This whole book is about choices.  From a young boy, the choice of a religion.  As a shipwrecked boy, the choice to fight or curl up and die.  To avenge his mothers death, The choice to bring the Tiger out in him. The choice to believe that he was shipwrecked with animals or with people that died at the hands of others.  And the choice at the end when he reached land, to let go of the Lion in him.   Ultimately, this book can be about individual choice to accept belief in God, not religion.

post #40 of 47

The problem is, both the protagonist and POV character flat out state that one version is preferable than the other.  A message about choice becomes muddled when the film tells you which one is right.

 

I wonder how much better I would've liked the movie is Whitey McMeansWell had answered that he preferred to know the truth, even if it lacks tigers, at the end.  Maybe quite a bit.

post #41 of 47

Or if Rafe Spall actually managed to do something with his role... instead of being a complete and utter blank.

 

I wish Lee had kept Tobey Maguire in the role.

post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruMerc Evony View Post

Because someone said that this book represents religion, yall buy into that.  The island represented the cost of living alone that during the day, you could be productive and live an existence but at night, the reality would creep in that the longer you stayed, that loneliness would eat you alive.  The meerkats were just meerkats.  Not everything written is symbolic.  BTW, the latin root for the word religion is religio which means to restrict.  So nothing eye opening about your flawed basis that religion is restrictive.  It comes with the territory.  This whole book is about choices.  From a young boy, the choice of a religion.  As a shipwrecked boy, the choice to fight or curl up and die.  To avenge his mothers death, The choice to bring the Tiger out in him. The choice to believe that he was shipwrecked with animals or with people that died at the hands of others.  And the choice at the end when he reached land, to let go of the Lion in him.   Ultimately, this book can be about individual choice to accept belief in God, not religion.

 

I like your moxy, and your interpretation, but my problem comes with this:

 

 

Quote:
To avenge his mothers death, The choice to bring the Tiger out in him.

 

How is any of that a choice? Does he spend time thinking about it? In terms of narrative time,  does he spend minutes, hours, days coming to this decision? I don't think he does. My copy is on my desk at school, so I will need to go back and look.

 

 

Quote:
And the choice at the end when he reached land, to let go of the Lion in him.

Does he make this choice? He cries at the end, feels Richard Parker's leaving a betrayal, and feels broken when he doesn't come back. RP is his id, his fountain of rage and hate and sorrow directed at Gerad Depardu, and how do you, after 200+ days at sea and being a teenager just choose to put that aside?

 

 

I agree the book is about choices, and specifically Pi's choice to believe in God and not religion. But there is more than just that going on here.

post #43 of 47

I have a hard time accepting any absolutist interpretation of this. The novel may be one simple thing (or not, I haven't read it), but what I liked best about the movie was that I couldn't pin it down. The island doesn't have to be just one thing; to be universal, it almost can't be specific.

post #44 of 47

good movie

post #45 of 47

Rafe Spall was such a blank piece of toast that I didn't care whether he learned anything or not. I think this hurt the movie's ending, but wow, what a great visual film this was. That shot of Pi underwater watching the ship sink was Spielbergian in its balance of awe and intimate emotion.

 

Watching this and Cloud Atlas in the same day was like freebasing a millennia's worth of spiritual philosophy. My head hurts.

post #46 of 47

I too have a question about the ending...

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The insurance report states "Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger."  

What's going on here? If they rejected that story, why mention it?

post #47 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onaga View Post

I too have a question about the ending...

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

The insurance report states "Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger."  

What's going on here? If they rejected that story, why mention it?

 

They decided to go with that one.

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