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Life of Pi

Richard Barone

Blog #5 of 30




May 23rd, 2013 - 03:15 PM

Life of Pi

Hooray for its visual imagery, not its storyline. It’s typical of movie makers these days. If the plot stinks, wow them with visuals.

I detected a certain cynicism toward Indians in this movie. I haven’t read the book, but if the movie follows its plot closely, then it too is cynical. One minute the family is eating lamb curry with gusto at home, next they are vegetarians on board a Japanese freighter making enemies with the carnivorous crew.

An Indian family taking their zoo animals to Canada for sale? If they were so destitute for cash, why not sell them in India before they moved? End of plot for sure.

The ending makes one think that the genie escaped the movie sight unseen, like Ang Lee could only add a conspiracy at the end, because he hadn’t the creativity to work it into the storyline, there being too many hungry, vicious, and seasick animals in the way.

Artistically, and this is the main reason for this blog, is the sinister nature of the cinematography. It’s one thing to photograph animals and make animations of them; that’s straightforward and honest. The audience knows it’s animation. It’s another to make them look and behave in realistic ways, like the camera is doing all the work, when in fact they are not looking or behaving that way except with the aid of a computer. This is more cruelty to humans than to animals.

This is not a story that makes me believe in God, as Pi suggests. The audience is given two stories to choose from, one visual, the other verbal. We are supposed to pick the visual fantasy, for therein lies faith over the more reasonable verbal story. To be sure, faith transcends reason, but it is something that transcends stories as well. You see, Pi had many faiths at the beginning and even at the ending of the story—Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, all based on stories. But he forgot one big story—Buddhism—which originated in India but couldn’t survive there. This is the story that walked into the jungle without saying goodbye, because it didn’t acknowledge Allah. Had this story been told, Lee might have made a great movie. But who is he to step on Buddha’s toes?

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