‘Life of Pi’ successfully brings book to life

Elizabeth Campbell

By Danielle Kiefer, Circulation Manager

Most people roll their eyes when they hear that yet another book is being turned into a movie. But Life of Pi is not just a boring movie that movie producers made because they were out of ideas. It exceeds expectations and proves to be a truly heartwarming and thought-provoking film.

The film is based on the 2001 novel of the same name written by Yann Martel. Suraj Sharma makes his acting debut as Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a spiritual teenager who survives a shipwreck, escaping in a lifeboat with the only other survivor, Richard Parker—a Bengal tiger.

The movie begins with an adult Pi (Irfan Khan, The Amazing Spider-Man) retelling his story to a writer (Rafe Spall, Prometheus). As a teenager, Pi is uprooted from his life in India and travels on a boat to Canada with his family and the animals of his father’s zoo when his ship sinks during a storm. As the movie progresses, Pi’s unwavering, blind faith in Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are tested again and again.

In the face of the many obstacles Pi is pitted against, including losing his family and learning to survive in a small boat in the ocean with a tiger, he never loses faith in his beliefs, instead using them to help him get through everything by praying and being thankful for what he has. Pi also uses his faith in the spirituality of animals to make an unexpected connection with Richard Parker.

Despite this being his first film, Sharma proves to be a great actor. He successfully portrays Pi’s emotions in every scene, and his believable performance of Pi’s tearful breakdown after losing his family will move audiences to tears. Sharma also manages to make the audience chuckle only minutes later with his witty lines. Being the only character for a majority of the movie, Sharma did not have many other actors to interact with, but he showcases his amazing acting skills in the spotlight.

Throughout the film, Life of Pi has amazing cinematography. Even though most of the movie takes place in the same location of the ocean, it features stunning shots of beautiful marine life, a huge whale and an island of thousands of meerkats. Featured in 3-D, many scenes seem to pop right out of the screen. The one downside to the film is its lack of action and long plot. Most of the movie revolves around Pi learning to survive with Richard Parker and their nearly year-long adventure at sea. While the lengthiness and slower-moving plot may bore restless audience members, Life of Pi rewards patient viewers with it its touching characters and unique storyline.

In the beginning of the movie, the writer said to Pi that he was told Pi’s story was one that “would make you believe in God.” Whether or not this is true is up to the viewer, but Life of Pi’s realistic acting, emotional plot and great visual affects make it a film worth seeing.  The lengthiness and heavy content make Life of Pi a movie better suited to older kids and teenagers rather than little ones, and it will also please adults.