Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Life of Pi
I've not particularly been in a party mood recently, and when considering seeing out 2012, I was pleased when Lawrence suggested going to see the new movie adaptation of Life of Pi. I'd seen the book lurking in bookshops over the years and never felt moved enough to pick it up and dive in. The movie on the other hand looked gorgeous.
We headed out into the cold and wet to Cinema City. Both Lawrence and I happily agreed on the 2D version. Lawrence's preferences are his own; but I don't particularly need to be visually immersed into a film, I find the more whizzy the effects, the more I feel nauseous and uncomfortable. I like big screen cinema in the 2D I grew up with. I don't need it bigger, better, faster, more. Yes, I know, I'm old-fashioned and boring. I'm fine with it.
Lawrence rightly pointed out occasionally Ang Lee disappeared up his own arse to focus on the 3D moments, and it really could have done with a heavier hand in the editing suite. But on the whole I thought it was stunning and the CGI was nigh-on realistic.
I loved it.
It made me cry.
Click here for a wiki synopsis and plot spoiler.
As a writer, I appreciated the marriage of the mystical, the realistic and the use flagrant use of metaphor in this sumptuous adventure. I loved the jumping narrative, seeing Pi grow up in Pondicherry; the juxtaposition between that, and his telling his tale to the writer in the present day works. Pi is established as a trustworthy, though dreamy narrator. At the end, it's obvious Pi is not 'telling the truth'. Would it have been a different story without the tiger, Richard Parker? Absolutely. And as the movie points out, it would not have been as palatable. We know which version is the truth and the tiger wins every time.
Are we more susceptible to the version of Pi's story with Richard Parker the tiger, because of Pi's spiritual nature established so early on? After all, religions use metaphor to tell their stories. Very possibly.
I know which version I would rather. Richard Parker, the tiger is portrayed as a tiger, in all his tigernessess (if you see what I mean?). He's not a Disney tiger that will become a talking pussy cat before the end of the movie. He is a wild and scary animal...and yet, there is glimpse of something within his (CGIed) eyes. There is more. Could I have coped as well with the cannibalistic cook, the suffering sailor and the death of Pi's mother? Not as well. I don't need that much realism in my life.
It is this something more that makes Pi's enigmatic words resonate at the end of the film.
"And so it is with God."