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Movie review of Life of Pi the movie

Updated on February 9, 2020
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Nyesha loves writing about cooking/recipes, restaurants, movies, weddings, and poetry.

Movie Review of Life of Pi the movie

Life of Pi the movie DVD cover
Life of Pi the movie DVD cover | Source

Life of Pi Movie Review

LIFE OF PI MOVIE REVIEW

Life of Pi the Movie

Life of Pi the movie is visually extraordinary and definitely interesting. If you are looking for a movie that will leave you wondering, “Wait, what just happened?” at the end, then this is a movie for you to watch!

That puzzling, mysterious and intriguing effect leaves you thinking about Life of Pi the movie for a little while after it has ended instead of just dismissing it in your memory, into a cache of movies that you have watched. Life of Pi the movie is most definitely a memorable movie to watch.

  • Life of Pi will leave an lasting impression on you.
  • This movie is full of surprises and will leave the most lasting impression on you if you have not already done any research into what the movie is about. It is based on a book by the same name, Life of Pi. I had not yet read the book or read any reviews about the movie prior to watching the Life of Pi movie DVD. I had only heard a lot of buzz about it being an excellent movie to see.
  • Indeed, many things occurred in the movie that were surprising to me. If you would like a similar experience, then perhaps you should not read on as the movie review gets into some of the details of what occurs in the movie.
  • If you stop here, without reading further, all I can say is that I highly recommend that you see this movie.

This movie is full of surprises and will leave a lasting impression on you.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi | Source

The character Pi in Life of Pi the movie

If you are encouraged to read on, then here is some further information regarding what this movie is all about. :

Life of Pi the movie begins with the country India as the setting of the movie. The main character of Life of Pi the movie is a young Indian boy that goes by the nickname Pi because he has spent previous years in school being bullied and relentlessly teased for the longer version of his name. At first the other kids don’t go for his new nickname because they want to keep teasing him.

One of them tells him, “Yeah, nice try” after he introduces himself with the new nickname but Pi does not give up. Throughout his scheduled days with his various classes at school, he makes sure to let people know that he goes by the name Pi.

The young boy uses his newly thought of nickname to make the association with the mathematical Pi, 3.14159....He offers demonstrations to his teachers and classmates by writing Pi, 3.14159....on the classroom blackboards.

He memorizes Pi, 3.14..... to many, many decimal points and impresses everyone with his extraordinary talent. Pi finally finds acceptance among his peers and no longer has to worry about being teased just because of his name. As the expression goes, he 'has bigger fish to fry'.

Life of Pi the movie begins with India as the setting.

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Pi - Born and raised on the grounds of a zoo

In the movie Life of Pi, Pi goes through adolescence and his early teenage years with a relatively low amount of drama until a major tragedy occurs. He was born and raised on the grounds of a zoo that is his father’s chief business operation. His mother works for the botanical gardens on the same property. His parents fall in love, marry and have two sons, he and his older brother. Pi loves the animals that he lives in such close proximity to.

  • Pi is a quite daring and mischievous.
  • In one scene, he approaches a caged tiger that he tries to offer raw meat to, directly from his hand.
  • His father stops him just in time, before his entire hand and arm is potentially snatched off.
  • Pi’s father is livid and intent on teaching him a lesson about this very dangerous behavior that he has just demonstrated.
  • Pi's father asks an assistant to get a live goat and he makes Pi and his brother stand there and observe as the tiger is released to grab the living goat, quickly snatch it, kill it and drag it away to eat it, all in a matter of seconds.

Pi was born and raised on the grounds of a zoo in Life of Pi the movie.

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Danger

  1. Pi’s mother is protective of him and his psyche.
  2. She does not want him to be traumatized.
  3. She speaks to Pi’s father and lets him know that Pi is already sorry. He is remorseful about trying to approach the tiger. Having Pi see a gory scene is not going to be necessary or helpful.

Nevertheless, Pi’s father still goes through with having the boys see the tiger kill the goat. Yes, this experience does have a lasting effect on Pi and he does learn a difficult lesson about danger.

Pi learns a difficult lesson about danger.

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Pi as an adult & the writer

  1. By the way, an adult Pi narrates what he has gone through in his childhood and teenage years to a writer that visits his home when he is middle aged and living in the United States with his wife, two children of his own and a pet cat.
  2. It was recommended to the writer that he visit Pi in his home and interview him about his life story, asking permission to write it.
  3. It was also suggested to the writer that Pi can help him to believe in God. It is suggested that by the time Pi finishes narrating his story, the atheist or agnostic writer visiting his home will get closer to believing in God.

Art

Source

As Pi and the writer chat in the comfort of Pi’s home, there is no notebook or tape recorder to record the details of the conversation for the future book. It is mainly the writer looking at Pi with intense eyes and an expression on his face that says, “I am paying very close attention to everything that you are saying.” Eventually, the only written words that the writer walks away with is an old report, but we will get to the report later.

***********************************************************************************************

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The subject of faith in Life of Pi the movie

Pi is very gracious with welcoming the writer into his home for the interview and as Pi tells his story, there is certainly much to be told. Pi discusses many things including the circumstances of his introductions to Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam. He talks about how as a youngster, he became interested in practicing ALL of these faiths because he just wanted to love God. Discussing this at the family dinner table, Pi’s mother is tickled and supportive of his exploring faiths other than the one he was born into (Hinduism). Pi’s father however warns him that “believing in everything is like believing in nothing at all.” This warning might seem like an impactful or maybe just a puzzling statement, nevertheless Pi is not deterred from his faith explorations.

  1. Pi prays a Catholic grace before meals prayer at the dinner table, kneels on a mat to pray as Muslims do and keeps up with the Hinduism traditions of his family as well.
  2. He is comfortable entering a church, sitting and talking with a priest and asking questions if he feels inclined to do so. He asks, "What kind of a God would send His son to suffer for the sins of ordinary people?" He is deeply impacted by his introduction to Christ and thanks his Hinduism god Vishnu for introducing him to Christ.

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The plan for Pi's family to leave India in Life of Pi the movie

Pi goes through his early life feeling mostly safe and secure, he finds love as a teenager as he assists with playing a musical instrument for a dance class and his love interest is a dancer. Very shortly after that, Pi’s father gathers the family around the dinner table to explain that the family must leave India for better opportunity. The land that the zoo occupies is owned by the government so the family only has the right to sell their animals for money. Pi’s father states, “It is settled.” The family will leave India and that they will make the trip by boat on the ocean, like Christopher Columbus. (The zoo animals will go with them, traveling as cargo.) Pi is battled. At the start of the conversation, he is puzzled and says, “Wait, what are we talking about?” When his father fully clarifies the plan and says that they will set off on the ocean like Christopher Columbus, Pi interjects, “But Columbus was looking for India.” Pi really does not want to leave India, his home and is feeling very disappointed.

In Life of Pi the movie, the character Pi goes through his early life feeling mostly safe and secure.

It is settled.

— Pi's father, regarding the family plan to leave India.
Source

Shipwrecked

Adult Pi, in his narrations discusses how he and his girlfriend had time to “break each other’s hearts” before he and his family left India. He vaguely remember seeing the girl that he liked for the last time but he does not remember saying “Goodbye” specifically. She had tied a red dyed string bracelet to his wrist and he carries it with him on his wrist for a very long time in his journey until it is tattered, worn and all of the red dye has faded away. Then he ties it to a tree limb on an island.

While Pi and his family are on the ship, Pi’s father has a run-in with a cook while he is defending his wife from the cook speaking rudely to her. She politely tries to explain to the cook that her family is vegetarian are they are interested in knowing if there are any vegetarian eating options as they line up to be served some food. The cook is very gruff and rude and some would say threatening in a discriminatory manner. Pi’s father tells the cook to not talk to his wife in that manner and they have a bad exchange. The cook says, “I serve people. You serve animals.” They are about ready to fight and it all has to be broken up and diffused.

Pi’s journey with his family aboard a vessel on the ocean turns out to be an immensely tragic one as the ship sinks and his entire immediate family – mother, father and brother die by drowning it is presumed. Pi himself who heard the noises of a storm was awakened and left the cabin where his mother, father and brother were sleeping. He first tried to nudge his brother awake and encourage him to tag along but his brother refused. When Pi left the cabin, he went up on deck and acted very silly like he was tempting the storm. He is lucky that he was not struck by lightning. What Pi ended up seeing while he was up on deck terrified him. Workers on the ship were falling into the sea and animals were as well. The ship was in distress and about to become completely submerged in water, sinking. Pi tried to go back to get his family and was unable to do so. He was spotted and urged to get on a lifeboat with no time to lose. Pi tried to plea for someone, anyone to help him to go back to get his family but no one was listening to that plea and it was chaos as people were trying to survive. Pi ended up in a life boat that a zebra fell right into and the zebra broke its leg in the fall.

A very intense scene in Life of Pi the movie ensues as Pi is tossed about on the lifeboat in the raging waters. At one point, it seems like Pi himself is at risk of drowning but he makes it until the storm has passed and the waters are calm again. It is determined that the sink has definitely sunk and Pi is perhaps the only human survivor after the threatening storm chaos and confusion has subsided. It is soon revealed that Pi is sharing the lifeboat with the zebra with the broken leg, an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger! The formidable tiger has the name Richard Parker and it is that same tiger that Pi tried to approach as a younger child. Pi practically hangs off the side of the boat to stay out of harm’s way. He is positively exhausted as he has been awake all night. Who can sleep in these conditions? Pi is in intense grief, distraught over the loss of his whole family and he screams “No” as he has to witness the hyena eventually killing both the zebra and the orangutan. The tiger kills the hyena and has food for a while before it gets really hungry again. Pi realizes that he himself can potentially be eaten by the tiger. Pi reads a “survival at sea” guide to get through his shipwreck survival until he is found.

The majority of the time, Pi lets the tiger have the larger lifeboat as he stays on a makeshift flotation unit nearby and tries to strategically wait until the tiger is sleeping to get supplies from the lifeboat such as canned food and a sea water purification contraption so that he can have some drinking water. Pi decides to mark his territory and make a boundary to that he can have some time on the life boat as well. He challenges the tiger with a lot of noise and raising threatening weapons such as a stick and an ax to it.

  • Pi is determined to employ circus training techniques so that he can get the threatening animal to at least be tame enough for Pi to coexist with it until they are rescued.
  • Pi does not desire to kill the animal and he does not want to be killed by it himself.
  • He wants them both to survive this very harrowing experience.

Grief and peril in Life of Pi the movie

In addition to his grief, what Pi goes through in over 200 days adrift at sea and also spending time on a desserted island only inhabited by animals before he continues on in the life boat to Mexico where he is finally rescued and placed in a hospital to recover is tantamount to torture. The audience watching the movie will truly feel for Pi as it is conveyed that he experiences extreme hunger near to starvation, thirst and blistering sunburn for example. He has enormous gratitude for just a little bit of shade that he is able to create with some materials.

There are many times when he is pretty much delirious. He talks to the tiger for company, hallucinates at times and at times comes to terms with the fact that he is about ready to meet God with his impending death.

Yes, there are many times when he sustains an admirable amount of hope and employs some “mind over matter” techniques for his circumstances but there is also an instance where he tells a sick and hungry Richard Parker, “We’re going to die.”

  1. In all, Pi is lost at sea for an unprecedented amount of days and also spends time on an island that the life boat eventually washes up on before his eventual rescue in Mexico.
  2. He is written up in the newspaper and interviewed by a team investigating the cause of the ship’s sinking (It had been a Japanese vessel.)
  3. There are even more surprising twists and turns to the story after Pi is rescued and interviewed while recovering in a hospital.

Adult Pi ends up letting the writer have a copy of the report from the interview that occurred while he was recovering in the hospital.

This movie, Life of Pi is pretty wild, with many twists, turns and surprises along the way in the story.

Life of Pi the movie is rated PG.

Note: Within just three days after watching this movie, Life of Pi on DVD, I watched a national news story about the true even of an Indonesian teenager that was stranded at sea for 49 days and survived in a fishing hut, his third time (!) stranded at sea. He survived straining sea water through his clothing to make drinking water so that he would not have too much intake of salt that would raise his blood pressure too high. He also employed fishing for food (something that Pi in the movie had eventually done for himself and the tiger as well). In the factual news story, the teenaged Indonesian boy around 19 years old was employed to light lamps for a fishing company. Now that he has been rescued from sea for the 3rd time in his life, he and his parents have discussed that he does not want to keep employment with that company anymore!

I can readily rate Life of Pi the movie 5/5 stars. Life of Pi is quite a spectacular movie.

5 stars for Life of Pi the movie

Life of Pi movie trailer

© 2018 Nyesha Pagnou MPH

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    • Journey * profile imageAUTHOR

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      10 months ago from USA

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      17 months ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I loved this movie. Good review.

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