Director Ang Lee and screenwriter David Magee pull off an amazing task with this wonderful adaptation of the best selling novel. Many said the book was impossible to film but Mr. Magee keeps the screenplay incredibly close to the original narrative and Mr. Lee, choosing 3D as his playground delivers a visual stunner of a film.
Using 3D to enhance his colorful palette, Mr. Lee doesn't waste a shot. From the beautiful opening sequence to the horrific storm at sea and everything that follows, the screen is filled with unforgettable images. The digital creation of many of the animals is flawless and also given an upgrade by the use of the 3D cameras. It is the best use of 3D since "Hugo".
The central story of teenage Pi's survival at sea is bookended by the adult Pi relating his story to a character known only as "The Writer". While acted with conviction by Irfan Khan as the adult Pi, these scenes come off a bit clumsy serving as a bridge to the moral and spiritual center of the tale. If you have read the book, seen the trailer or even a poster, you know that a Bengal tiger is a major character in the story. The how and why he's important I will leave for you to discover. God's plan and man's place in the universe are central themes explored in the book as well as the film. It is is the teenage Pi and that Bengal tiger that take us on the emotional and spiritual journey to explore those themes. Teenage Pi is played by Suraj Sharma and he is well up to the physically demanding and emotional draining task.
The film is long, running over two hours. Mr. Lee definitely could have tightened up his editing with a little cutting now and then. Instead, he choose to put it all out there and let the outstanding visuals and suspenseful plot keep you engaged. The revelations at film's end should have you deep in discussion well after the final credits.