So we went to see Life of Pi at the Tivoli in Tiverton (MUCH better than the Odeon). Adrian declined the invitation so James and I fist-bumped and bought shedloads of the rustliest packets of crap we could find.
Hate to say it but the Subaru performed rather nicely – in fact it positively flew along the valley road. Now if I could only find a parking space where its bum doesn’t hang over the end…
Anyhow. I’d read the book, by Yann Martel, and had kind of enjoyed it, although (to be honest) I really couldn’t remember a whole lot about it other than that the boy ends up on a lifeboat with a tiger and that there was a sneaky twisty ending. But that was good, cos it meant I didn’t demand the movie stack up to the book.
Let’s cut to the chase: I loved it. From the opening scenes the cinematography is just captivating – it has the strangest quality of light – a perfect clarity combined with a softness, almost a sweetness (I know that’s a paradox but, sorry, that’s how it felt). The CGI of the animals is pretty incredible but they did lose me just a bit when some scenes went over-the-top (the whale was a stretch too far for me, as was Pi's mum’s face appearing in the sky – schmaltzy and unworthy, but hey, only a few bum notes).
The scenes of India at the start are simply stunning. I could almost smell the flowers and spices, feel the humidity, find my hands yearning to twist into mudras, my feet itching to dance. And how wonderful is young Pi who sees no problem in being, simultaneously, a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim? In fact, he even wonders if three is enough. A boy after my own heart.
The whole movie has a dream-like quality about it. Even the brutality, unexpected and shocking when it comes, is true to the nature of dreams. My mother used to dream, repeatedly, of a large cat following her, padding quietly into the room, or jumping silently onto her bed, moving up the covers towards her face while she lay in terror. A Jungian would probably say that the wild beast symbolizes dangerous uncontrolled emotions, disruptive forces, the animal passions and instincts. And Pi, of course, is a boy on the brink of manhood.
But let’s not analyze it too much, eh? I certainly didn’t – I just sat back (with the occasional rustle) and let the dream pick me up and take me with it. What is real? What is up; what is down? What is within, what without? Is anything what it seems? Does it matter?
The boy discovers that he needs his antagonist. The tiger – both his fear of it and his need to look after it - keeps him alive. Oh yes.
The adult Pi says that his story will make you believe in God. Does it? I don’t think so. Not really. And I had the same feeling of being slightly cheated by the ending as I did when I finished the book – clever but..a little pat. I’d rather stay with the beauty, with the awesome beauty of the heights of ocean and the depths of sky; with the vastness of space and time and two creatures watching one another cautiously from either end of a small boat.
PS – Someone, anyone, send me to India. Now. Please.
In case you haven't seen it - check out the trailer....
Oh, and no, we didn't see it in 3-D.