November 21st, 2012
05:30 PM ET

What's the buzz on 'Life of Pi'?

For an adaptation that was viewed as "unfilmable," today's "Life of Pi" is earning consistently rave reviews.

Directed by Ang Lee, the project had a number of challenges, starting with the story itself. The protagonist in the novel, written by Yann Martel, spends much of his time stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger as his companion after a major shipwreck. Trying to bring Pi's moving experience to life on film was an admitted risk, but one Lee has impressively managed.


"How do you transform the literal and metaphorical sides of the tale into cinema? You call Ang Lee," says Rolling Stones' Peter Travers. "Every sight and sound is astounding, especially when you consider that the tiger is a digital creation. That puts enormous pressure on the actor who must react to a beast that isn't there. To play Pi, Lee chose the inexperienced Suraj Sharma, then 17, who returns the favor by giving a fine, fearless performance that consistently rings true."

But while Sharma's acting felt authentic, Lee's film didn't exactly strike that note for New York magazine's David Edelstein - but in the best possible way.

"'Life of Pi' looks neither natural nor egregiously fake but vivid, as if a knob had been turned way up on the color of each object’s spirit and the real world into a sort of pantheistic storybook," Edelstein says. "And that’s exactly the right look for what it is: a tale told by the older Pi [Irrfan Khan] to a writer [Rafe Spall] who has sought him out after hearing that Pi had a story to make him 'believe in God.' I’m not sure how I felt about God at the end of 'Life of Pi,' but I fervently believed in the magic of movies."

Lee's use of 3-D technology to weave together his story drew a comparison to 2009's huge holiday hit, "Avatar," from Time's Richard Corliss.

"To compare 'Life of Pi' with 'Avatar' is not to suggest that Lee’s movie will challenge the Cameron movie for all-time box office supremacy," Corliss said. "But 'Pi' is a giant leap forward, outward and upward in expanding the resources of the evolving medium of movies. Magical realism was rarely so magical and never before so real."

If you've seen "Life of Pi," let us know if you agree with the high praise the film's been receiving. You can also share your thoughts by taking a picture of your ticket stub, tagging it #stubreview and tweeting @CNNiReport.

Filed under: movies

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Latin341(J.R.)

    Can anyone tell me or provide some example of the cultural significance of Life of Pi? I read and saw the movie, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the cultural significance of the novel or movie

    April 4, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ron D

    Not everyone is going to enjoy this movie because it lacks typical drama. But I agree with everything said in above article. One thing about it that I thought was unique, the movie works very well for children as well as adults.

    December 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Canadian Observer

    Happy Holidays from Canada.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. anne

    i want to see this movie, can't wait too much longer. i hope its out soon.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Bananas

    Well, Lots of Paki Comments, we presume! hehe! Us Mortals must Unite on our Many Similarities and we must Celebrate our Beautiful Differences! All We Need Is Love! (idontreallywannasee....everybodyjustlikeme!) I can hardly wait to have this Amazing Movie Experience!

    November 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I Loved "Life of Pi"

    I just recently returned from seeing this movie and I can't imagine the story of Pi being told in any better way. Both reality and metaphor are weaved beautifully together through magnificent shots and angles. The acting was top-notch and it was not hard to immerse yourself into the emotion and intensity of the film- made only stronger by the 3-D aspect of it. This is a movie that I would not hesitate to watch many times over.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hello ZelaZinthia---(nothome)

    your information on these blogs are of no use to me and my husband. actually most of the blogs here are of no use to anyone - good night.

    November 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. the actor is not present

    i can tell already. shut down before yawn ourselves to death

    November 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ZelaZinthia

    I'd be surprised if the 'out of screen effects' are even as good as Avatar, and Avatar's 3D was fairly modest although the visual delights throughout the movie helped a lot.

    Don't get me wrong I'm a fan but IMO very few films are using all THREE dimensions to their best advantage to tell the story and make it a fun and interesting experience as well. I believe this is hurting the viability of 3D and I hope the studios snap out of it and use more of the effects that make this medium what it could and should be.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |

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