Two-hour film adaptation stays true to high school novel
After spending almost 10 years bouncing between directors, Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” was finally adapted to film by Ang Lee.
With a full cast of Bollywood actors, the stimulating film details a gripping story of survival and provides an international take on storytelling.
In the film, character Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma and Irfan Khan) relates the narrative of his travels to an aimless writer looking for inspiration. The writer is soon washed away in a story that will make him believe in God.
When Pi was young, his family traveled across the Pacific Ocean from India to Canada to sell their zoo’s animal collection. However, the ship sank and left Pi on a lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a wounded zebra and a hungry Bengal tiger.
The greatest challenge that Lee and screenwriter David Magee faced was the task of fitting a book that focused on a boy and a tiger in a lifeboat into a well-paced film.
The adaptation manages to stay interesting throughout its two-hour run time and even the slower moments in the film remain interesting through the beautiful cinematography and Sharma’s ability to largely carry the film by himself.
It also turns out to be faithful to the original novel, but it greatly condenses Pi’s back-story as a child in India in favor of the survival story of Pi’s time in the lifeboat.
The religious overtones are downplayed as a result, to allow the film to be more accessible to a wider audience.
Minus the stranger moments of the novel that have little impact on the story, the film is identical to the book including the twist ending that changes a viewer’s entire perspective of the film.
Sharma’s superb acting also makes the slightly awkward and clunky plot line of the original work in the film.
“Life of Pi” is a film that may not break any barriers in terms of storytelling, but its bold colors, unique camera angles and the Indian-inspired soundtrack manage to refresh the tired and worn realm of survival films.
Fans of the novel won’t be disappointed, but those coming into the film knowing little about Martel’s novel will be able to appreciate it the most as it proves to tell a story that may makes viewers believe in God.