Life of Pi 3D Blu-ray Review
There are many things to like about Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, but what I find the most fascinating is not anything that Lee did, but the fact that everyone sees something different in the film. Your interpretation of the events in the film will vary depending on your upbringing and religious beliefs. Heck, my own reaction to the film changed during the course of the movie and even after the credits rolled, I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. That alone is enough to respect what Ang Lee did with Yann Martel’s supposedly un-filmable novel.
The story follows Pi, a boy traveling from India to Canada with his family on a Japanese freight ship across the Atlantic Ocean. They’re also traveling with their zoo animals, hoping to sell them when they land to make enough money to start a new life. But along the way, their freighter sinks, killing everyone on board except for Pi and four animals; a zebra with a broken leg, an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger. Stranded on a small lifeboat, the four animals don’t play nice and eventually, only Pi and the tiger are left standing. In order to survive, Pi has to find a way to live with the tiger and keep his sanity and hope at the same time.
You can take this film at face value as a fun, beautiful story about a shipwrecked boy and a feisty Bengal tiger. If that’s all you choose to see in the movie, you still won’t be disappointed. The tiger has a mind of its own and is actually the second biggest star in the movie, behind newcomer Suraj Sharma. Even if you take it as a light-hearted adventure, LIFE OF PI works by keeping the audience on the edge of your seat, constantly amazed at each visually stunning sequence and genuinely interested in Pi’s fate as well as the tiger’s. The greatness of the visual effects can’t be understated and given the simplicity of the story, seeing whales jump out of the ocean or the tiger jump at the screen is very satisfying. LIFE OF PI is a beautiful film to look at and the effects are breathtaking.
But if you choose to look deeper into the film, that’s when it will really hit home with you. LIFE OF PI has a message of positive thinking, faith in a higher power and spiritual discovery, but it’s so subtle that the message will only shine through if you let it. Furthermore, the message is different for everyone. Some may look at LIFE OF PI as an example of God’s will and the mysterious ways in which your faith works with you. Others may look at this as an example of the lack of existence of God and that destiny is up to the individual. Personally, I got less caught up in the religious parallels and instead looked at LIFE OF PI as one man’s fight with his inner-self and the struggle between the various influences your environment or situation can have on you. But again, any interpretation of the film is correct and only you can decide what it meant.
The direction in LIFE OF PI is fantastic and Ang Lee deserved his Oscar for his work on this film. Bringing this book to life on the big screen was fraught with potential pitfalls, but Lee avoided them all masterfully. He somehow managed to make a film that pleases both adventure seekers and deep thinking movie goers. The film is unbiased and left totally up to interpretation, making it one of the better thought-provoking films in years.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
LIFE OF PI impresses you right off the bat as far as 3D quality in the opening scenes of the zoo. It features some of the best 3D animal scenes I’ve ever seen and the film didn’t let up. From the sinking of the ship to the lush jungle landscapes, this is an incredible 3D experience.
Video: LIFE OF PI is something to behold on Blu-ray. Whether you watch it in 3D or 2D, this is one of the most beautiful films to watch on the format.
Audio: The audio on LIFE OF PI is equally impressive, utilizing the 7.1 track perfectly.
A Filmmaker’s Epic Journey (1:03:20): If you were disappointed at the lack of commentary, then this should make you feel much better about the Blu-ray set. This is an exhausting (in a good way) four-part documentary about the long process of making the film and the years that Ang Lee spent trying to get it to the big screen.
A Remarkable Vision (19:31): After the Oscar win, the special effects team of Rhythm and Hues got a lot of attention since they’re now defunct. But they get a last chance to shine in this featurette and some of their team talk about the amazing effects including the photoluminescence scenes and the meerkat island.
Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (8:36): The tiger is the true star of the film and this short featurette focuses on the real tigers and the CGI tigers used in the film.
Deleted Scenes (13:16): There are five scenes in all, all of which provide a little more detail about the specifics of living with a tiger on a boat.
VFX Progressions (14:51): These are two nice featurettes showing the progression of a special effects scene from crude outline all the way to the finished product.
Theatrical Trailer, Pre-production artwork Gallery and Storyboards