After all the critical acclaim and exciting trailer, the hype machine has been in overdrive for this magical adventure – but what happens if you’re a tad disappointed?
I actually had the same problem with director Ang Lee’s sub-titled martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000.
Do you give it a high mark assuming that the majority of worldwide critics or audiences are seeing something that you’re simply not – or do you judge it harshly because you were actually expecting so much more?
I think I’ll be pitching somewhere in the middle, but this is refreshing work with some minor reservations.
It deserves plaudits for the original story – based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel – generally fine acting and direction, coupled with breathtaking computer-generated special effects.
But you could easily argue the best bits had already been covered in the trailer, and when I was expecting more to happen, it never did – despite the plus points mentioned in my previous paragraph undoubtedly laying solid foundations.
Satisfied yes, overwhelmed no.
The story is narrated by the older version of Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan), who is relaying his seemingly ‘tall tail’ adventure to an intrigued writer (Rafe Spall) – and centres around a traumatic and life-changing event that happens in his mid-teens.
Using all his survival skills Pi has to fight for his existence by keeping the tiger’s hunger in check to stop him from being the next meal – as well as fighting the elements of the weather and Pacific Ocean.
There are undoubtedly several ‘wow’ moments in the film, the sinking ship, beautiful effects (like when a massive Whale leaps from the sea into the sky) and Pi’s interaction with Richard Parker, which takes the movie comfortably into the watchable zone.
There’s only so much you can do with a boy stuck on a boat with a tiger and this does it well for a film that is nearly two hours long – but for me, the exciting curve ball or pay-off never quite happens.
But for being something different, blended with sensational special effects and noteworthy acting – messrs Sharma and Khan are extremely competent and likeable leads – this will undoubtedly be an emotionally rewarding experience for some cinema-goers.
It is simply luscious to watch in 3D – and is not too far-fetched to stay on the right side of ridiculous – making this one slice of Pi still worth taking a bite out of.
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Gerard Depardieu, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Ayush Tandon, Vibish Sivakumar
Running Time: 1hr 55mins
Director: Ang Lee [youtube id=”zoA-1gFmOIM” width=”600″ height=”350″]