A year ago I picked up a free download of a book in Starbucks. I’m a sucker for a freebie as we should all be. The book turned out to be Life Of Pi by Yann Martel. I knew absolutely nothing about it at the time. That’s going to be the problem with cinema audiences. It’s hard to arrive at a cinema completely blind to the content of a film. There are trailers, there are billboards, there are premiere specials and interviews with the stars and directors, there is merchandise.
All I had to go on was the cover, and as we all know you should never judge a book in that way.
Last night I finally got to see Life Of Pi in the cinema. I had been told to see it in 3D and unusually, it was a worthwhile investment. I don’t want to say anything about the story, I will just say it is a spectacular piece of filmmaking and there were moments when my mouth was agape in the sheer beauty of it all despite already being aware of the eventual outcome. Ang Lee has performed an incredible feat in bringing a beloved book to film, and while there are moments that feel slightly stretched for the sake of backstory it is worthy of its recent Academy Award nominations.
The CGI is flawless, completely. My head is still spinning as I attempt to establish exactly how parts of it were done. It has a delirious aspect to some scenes that work so well. It’s close enough to the book in terms of the look and characters and there is no spin or Hollywood ending for the sake of it.
Go and see it.
Read the book first actually.
Read it very quickly.
Then go and see it.
For Richard Parker.