Imagine for a moment that you’re out at sea on an enormous vessel. Next, imagine that you come under siege by terrible storm. The ship starts to sink. You and the life boat you’re clinging to drop into the churning sea. Your family is likely dead. You’re all alone.
What’s that dark shape in the waves? You throw out a life preserver attached to a rope. You reel the survivor toward you. Is it your mother? Your father? Your older brother? No. It’s a man-eating tiger.
This is “Life of Pi,” which on Feb. 27 won four Academy Awards: Best Director for Ang Lee, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Original Score.
“Life of Pi,” which is in theaters but will hit home video Tuesday, introduces audiences to the life of a young Indian man. His given name is Piscine Molitor, but to avoid ridicule as a boy, he early on insists on being called Pi. We first see Pi as an older man living in Canada. He meets a writer in desperate need of a good story. Pi agrees to tell how he came to survive for over two hundred days lost at sea alone with a vicious zoo tiger named Richard Parker.
Pi also tells the writer that this story will make him believe in God.
Critics have called “Life of Pi” a game changer, suggesting that, until now, 3-D was just for flashy action movies. Never before has such a riveting drama so successfully utilized the technology. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated, “You don’t just watch this movie, you live it.”
Many have asked me if the film was dull — reminding me of their experiences watching “Cast Away” — to which I reply, “Most definitely not!” It’s an epic story, but I refuse to use the word fantasy. We’ll just call it an adventure.
And what an adventure it is. I’ve had the privilege of watching eight of the nine films nominated for Best Picture this year, and “Life of Pi” stayed with me longer than any of the others. It’s rich, original, affecting and emotional. I jumped several times, which doesn’t happen to me very often.
I’m a big fan!