Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Life of Pi

Sharing a lifeboat with Richard Parker

Sharing a lifeboat with Richard Parker

Astounding visuals and an extraordinary tale of survival make Life of Pi worth seeing. Based upon the hit novel by Yann Martel which I was first introduced to in a London Bookshop six years ago by a good friend of mine, Life of Pi tells the extraordinary tale of Pi, a boy who grew up in the French colonial region of India and whose father ran the Pondicherry Zoo.

Pi’s seemingly tranquil childhood in Pondicherry is spent experimenting with different religions from Hinduism to Christianity and endlessly teased at school by his classmates for his unusual name Pi, which he quickly shortened from his original birth name Piscine Moritor Patel, named after a Parisian swimming pool which his father once had the good fortune to swim in.

Pi’s exotic youth is disrupted when his parents decide to emigrate to Canada from India. The catch being that the journey was to be on a Japanese freighter sailing from India to Canada around the Pacific and Pi’s father insisted on taking some of the zoo animals with them including a Bengal Tiger, a zebra, an orang-utan and a hyena.

During a horrific storm off the coast of the Philippines, the freighter sinks leaving Pi now sixteen stranded on a life boat with several animals including a Bengal Tiger, a zebra,  an orang-utan and a hyena. Naturally in these extraordinary circumstances survival of the fittest ensues and soon afterwards it is only Pi faced with the prospect of sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger oddly named Richard Parker.

Yann Martel’s brilliant novel Life of Pi leaves much to the imagination and is beautifully written, winning the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It is only through the expert eyes of Oscar winning film director Ang Lee whose successes include Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm and Lust, Caution that this extraordinary tale of courage, survival and triumph be brought to the big screen with the assistance of some amazing special effects making the Life of Pi an unbelievable and wonderfully told novel come to life on the big screen.

Director Ang Lee whose previous films all dealt with decidedly human dilemmas of forbidden love, family dramas and political intrigue proves he is equally adept at handling a tale about survival, triumph and one teenage boy’s determination to beat Mother Nature’s odds despite his extraordinary situation of being stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific ocean for almost a year with only a hungry Bengal Tiger for company…

Naturally the special effects team of Avatar and Titanic also offer great assistance in bringing this extraordinary novel to the big screen and also shown in 3D. Read the book of Life of Pi and by all means don’t miss the colourful cinematic version. Recommended!

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