Films that go beyond entertainment and reach an audience on another level are really something special. Films that stay with you long after you leave the theatre or turn off the TV. Ang Lee is a brilliant director who is often remembered for making the version of Hulk that people didn’t like, but the fact is Hulk is the only film of his that didn’t work. From the unforgettable drama The Ice Storm to his acclaimed Civil War film Ride with the Devil to the masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He followed all of those with the hit Brokeback Mountain and the ‘should have got more attention’ Taking Woodstock. Now Lee takes on a bestselling novel that the majority of its readers deemed unfilmable with Life of Pi.
Indian storyteller Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) tells the story of his life to a writer. He tells of his childhood in Pondicherry, India and how his father who owned a zoo decided to move to Canada and bring his zoo animals with him to sell in the USA. With the family and all the animals aboard a Japanese cargo ship, a storm hits on the high seas and the ship sinks. Pi (Suraj Sharma) survives but finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a male Bengal Tiger. As they drift around in the Pacific Ocean, Pi must learn to adapt and get along with his boat mates if he is to survive at all.
Life of Pi is astounding. Not only in the telling of its unique and touching story, but in Lee’s visual creation, in the acting performances, especially that of Suraj Sharma, and in the effects in the film. The world that Lee has put on film in Life of Pi is a staggering achievement. Full of life and realism, but with a veil of wonder over it all. And the creation of the tiger has to be seen to be believed. This is a film that will not only reignite your love for film, but maybe even reignite your love for life. It is a wholly life affirming tale that will be remembered for generations to come.
The Blu-ray from FOX is a wonder in itself. This is probably the most perfect transfer of a film this year, right up there with Les Miserables. The colors in this film will dazzle you like nothing else. Amazing detail and clarity are abundant and the soundtrack if beautiful and immersive. I really can’t find anything to take marks away from Lee’s film or its transfer here. A must see film and one of the best Blu-rays of 2013 so far.
Available Now on Blu-ray and DVD.