I went to see Life of Pi today. I read the book last summer, and enjoyed it - so when I first heard about the movie, I was wary, especially since it's a very "literary" book. It's the story of an Indian boy - Piscine "Pi" Patel, named for a swimming pool, son of a zoo owner - and at sixteen, Pi sets off to Canada with his family on a Japanese tanker ship which sinks in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Pi finds himself trapped on a lifeboat with a 450 pound Bengal tiger, Richard Parker , an orangutan, a zebra, and a hyena - and soon, only Pi himself and the tiger are left. As Pi struggles to survive, he relies on his (exceptionally strong) faith in God to keep himself from total despair. Pi encounters swarms of flying fish, sees the ocean alive with luminescent jellyfish, and discovers a mysterious and horrifying floating island. The book moves slowly, but the story is enough to make you read on.
The movie is gorgeous, and the incredible cinematography nicely complements the book's prose. From the lush scenes of India to the shots of Pi and Richard Parker alone in the lifeboat, the whole thing is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It follows the book well enough: I'd personally rather see a good movie that wanders off course than an awful one that follows a book word for word, though, and Life of Pi is definitely a good movie.
Either way, the story itself is incredible. It's the kind of story that sparks your own imagination, and takes your mind gallivanting off into a dozen different directions. The plot is remarkably believable, though the last few pages of the book will challenge everything.
I plan to write a more general post about fiction into film sometime in the relatively near future, stay tuned!
AND check out this year's Oscar nominations!