You know I am not generally a fan of movie adaptations of my favorite novels, but this weekend I finally watched "Life of Pi" and felt that it really did justice to Yann Martel's book. I chalk that up to director Ang Lee.
I read the book when it first came out (thanks to Scott's recommendation) and loved it. I was nervous when I heard it was being made into movie, and I had trouble even imagining how it could be done. Andy, on the other hand, had never read the book; after seeing (and loving) the movie, he wondered if he'd even like the book. So there you go.
Plot summary but no spoilers: Pi is an Indian teen who grows up in a zoo. The family decides to move to Canada, but there's a shipwreck and all the people and animals die. Except for Pi and Richard Parker, the zoo's Bengal tiger. On a tiny lifeboat. And that's all I'll say. (Except that now I am calling all of our cats Richard Parker. I have a feeling it will stick with Luna.)
The cinematography is gorgeous, the acting is wonderful (mostly Pi at different ages), and the story is faithfully retold, including the ending. It can be enjoyed on many levels—from the most basic adventure tale to a very deep and philosophical meditation on life and truth.
I miss Roger Ebert's film reviews (and insightful tweets), but luckily there is always his archive to go back to. Here's what he said about this movie:
Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" is a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery. Inspired by a worldwide best-seller that many readers must have assumed was unfilmable, it is a triumph over its difficulties. It is also a moving spiritual achievement, a movie whose title could have been shortened to "life."