Sunday, 13 January 2013

Life of Pi


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.  

9 comments:

Fennie said...

Happy New Year Jane! Most excellent I'll see it if it turns up at our local cinema.

Tattie Weasle said...

Oh God yes I loved it but only saw it in 2D becasue I hate wearing the 3D glasses over my own - am going to go again and see it in 3D even if I have to tape the 3D glasses on!
Stared slow for me but then hit its stride and WOW!

The bike shed said...

I'm looking forward to seeing it and hope it's better than the recent Hobitzzzzzzz.... a classic case of how to spoil a movie with unnecessary length and even less necessary hollywood-style action scenes.

Exmoorjane said...

@Fennie - and a very Happy New Year to you too. :) If it's come to Tiv, it must surely come to you? xx

@Tattie - 2D for me too. I HATE 3-D, makes me dizzy...though confess I'd quite like to see some of the effects ...just not the obvious stuff like the flying fish.

@TBS - Fear not, it is. And I'm in total agreement with you re The Hobbitzzzz - see my earlier post. :)

Mary Vensel White said...

Agree with all your points and I liked it very much too. Lovely and touching and ultimately, mysterious.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Oh you are making me want to see it. I had been wondering if it would be a bit cheesy but then the pictures were so totally uncheesy I couldn't make up my mind. Will report back!

Bob Studholme said...

We saw it in 2D and loved it. A friend went for the 3D version and reported it the worst cinema experience of her life - she felt sea-sick all through.

Exmoorjane said...

@Mary - :) How's your wonderful book doing?

@Elizabeth - no, not cheesy at all. I have a feeling you'd like it. Some of the photography is just jaw-droppingly beautiful.

@Bob - that's interesting. Yup, I get the seasick effect from 3-D. Thanks for the warning. I'd heard it wasn't as bad as some but evidently not. :)

Jaxbee said...

I wasn't mad for the book, found it a bit, well, silly SORRY! but for some reason, am desperate to see the film. I can imagine how the story would work better (for me, OH absolutely loved the book) on screen and some of the clips I've seen are truly breath-taking. Saw Les Mis this week (wonderful), Life of Pi next and then I need to fit in The Impossible - so much great stuff out at the moment.