It is a movie adaptation of a book of the same title written by Yann Martel. I’ve watched the movie and been warmly surprised how much I liked it. I usually don’t take well to tales of survival or movies dealing with shipwrecked or otherwise lost people. It’s to do with all the idiotic things they do before they figure out how to survive, or the reason how they got in this mess in the first place. Not that I’m some kind of expert or hard-core hiker/survivalist, but some things are just common sense… or not, apparently.
This particular tale unfolds differently and Pi (Suraj Sharma) does whatever he has to survive on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific. The story’s beginning and opening lines are enough to catch your interests, if the colours and the family don’t manage to rouse your imagination. The fact that the family owned a zoo and that’s where the children grew up is a gem. India itself is portrayed as an explosion of colour. But then the entire movie is visually stunning. You’ll want to frame individual shots and admire them over and over again. No wonder it got 4 Oscars, including best picture and best director for Ang Lee.
How Pi takes charge and changes the way people look on his legal name (Piscine Molitor Patel) is brilliant and hilarious at the same time. You just have to admire his determination and drive. This event endeared him to me and I was looking forward to the tale of the tiger and the boy. The graphics were amazing as was the shots of the sea, the storms, … You can see the magic Pi finds around him every day, and although he’s in considerable danger, suffering from malnutrition and loneliness, the wonders don’t really let him lose sight of his goal – to survive. He finds comfort in writing a diary, training the tiger Richard Parker (funny story how he got the name) to accept his presence in the boat.
Pi tells us at the beginning that his tale will either make you believe in god or not. The final message is that you either have faith or you don’t, but that it doesn’t really matter as long as the path you chose in your life makes sense to you. You can’t force religion or an ideology on a person. Pi admits that life makes sense with or without faith but that he prefers to have it. His search of religion breaks all rules and makes you laugh out loud at his honest questions, which are quite deep in their simplicity.
Everyone can find a truth of their own in this movie. You can feel your faith renewed or strengthened, or you feel perfectly comfortable being an atheist. All religions are ultimately just a path towards spirituality. You can follow them, if they bring you comfort and make you a better person, or you can be just the same without it. Morality is not dependant on religion. That is my belief at least.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, so I hope that those who have not yet seen the movie or read the book watch it on a day when they feel like tackling a more philosophical entertainment fare. I really enjoyed the portrayal Pi gives of humanity and religion. There is something simplistic, endearing, and truthful about him. I guess you’ll either love or hate the movie; I certainly consider it worthy of re-watching.