LIFE OF PI is the exciting and harrowing story of how a shipwrecked teenage boy drifts in the ocean for 227 days on a 26 foot long lifeboat.
His only companion is a fierce Bengal tiger.
Director Ang Lee's gripping 3D survival story isn't perfect, but it is stunningly beautiful, one of the year's must-see movies.
The movie begins when the main character, Pi, is a little boy growing up in India. He's fascinated by a tiger in the zoo owned by his family. At one point his father catches the boy with his face right up against the bars of the tiger's enclosure.
Dad: You think the tiger is your friend. He is an animal not your playmate.
Pi: Animals have souls; I have seen it in their eyes.
Several years later, undergoing hard times, Pi's father decides to move his family and his zoo animals to Canada. But a terrible storm on the Pacific sinks the freighter they're on.
Pi is the only human survivor. And it's at this point that LIFE OF PI becomes an extraordinary tale of survival.
The 3D cinematography is simply gorgeous. And the computer generated tiger, whose name is Richard Parker, looks completely real.
It's possible to see this movie in 2D, but believe me, its worth the extra charge to see it in 3D, the way it was filmed.
Pi makes a small raft out of life jackets and supply lids from the lifeboat, because it would be too dangerous for him to be on the boat with the tiger for more than very short periods of time.
But eventually, man and beast achieve a kind of truce.
"Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now," Pi writes in the margins and empty spaces of an instruction manual. "my fear of him keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose."
There is a strong spiritual dimension to THE LIFE OF PI. Pi himself embraces three religions--Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. And the adult Pi tells an interviewer that his story will make people believe in god.
But you don't have to be a believer to appreciate the intense emotions and the visual wonder of this terrific movie.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org