Told in flashback by the adult Pi (Irrfan Khan), his story picks up pace when his father (Adil Hussain), a zoo owner, decides to relocate the family from native India to Canada, where he can sell off his animals for profit. A storm picks up and the ship sinks, killing his family and all but a tiger, a zebra, an orangutan, and a hyena, who all take shelter on a lifeboat with the teenage Pi (Suraj Sharma).
Whether Pi survives the 227 days at sea or not is no mystery. And so Life of Pi isnít a survival tale in the typical sense. It is, instead, (at least partly) about Pi going from frightened boy to dominating, capable man. And itís fascinating to watch this transformation, primarily because of the performance of Sharma, who spends the bulk of the movie acting alongside computer-generated creatures.
Yet, there is a deep religious purpose (agenda?) to Life of Pi. Itís not necessary to be a follower of Christianity or Hinduism or Islam (or, in the case of Pi, all threeóa clever sidestep from the author, so as not to cause boycotts) to appreciate the story, but those that donít will, I think, have a harder time connecting and get less from the experience in the end. (The rest of us may find more significance in Piís adopted name, taken from the infinite number.)
As the Academy Awards showed, Life of Pi is a visually stunning piece of work, one comprised of flawless CGI from Rhythm & Hues Studios (they previously won statues for their work on The Golden Compass and Babe), who, along with Lee and cinematographer Claudio Miranda, make every shot in the middle portion of the film gorgeous. Life of Pi also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score.
A Remarkable Vision (19:35): Rhythm and Hues Studios effects artists discuss their work on Life of Pi, which earned the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (8:35) looks at the character of Richard Parker, both as an actual tiger and computer-generated animal.
Also included is a DVD/Digital Copy.