I’ve been working my way through several movies I got for my birthday. The latest is Life of Pi. What a visually stunning cinematic experience! It reminds me of Avatar, in that “oooh” and “wow!” punctuated my time spent watching it. Many of the ocean visuals are unlike anything I’ve seen before. That and his time on the island are like a constantly shifting Impressionist watercolor come to brief life. A moving pageant of color and sound that mesmerizes and compells the mind forward like the eagerness to turn each page of an excellent book. 

I love the whimsy that begins with a Bengal tiger with a name like Richard Parker, and carries an otherwise grim tale of shipwreck and loss along unexpected paths. And I love the way I’m left wondering which story is what really happened in that lifeboat. A little mystery can be a good thing, and the way Life of Pi ends proves that.

My only complaint is that I wish there had been less buildup to the wonderful core of the story, and more wonderful core of the story. I’ve been on a real thing lately about less is more as far as back story goes. It started when I watched Battleship,  continued with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, and now Life of Pi.

It’s a matter of personal taste , I’m sure. I think it’s also due a bit to my personal writing style and preferences. I really take to heart the thing about starting as close to the actual story as possible. I do have a screenplay that I went back and added a brief flashback to, but there’s a difference between brief enhancement and a lot of mundane back story instead of more wow factor.

That said, I think Life of Pi is one of those watershed films that moves the bar closer to awesome, for everything that comes after it. We need those. Not only in filmmaking, but also in the movie watching world at large. Something a little new and different can shift the expectations of the movie going public. I know I’m going to be looking for the next big moment that will top an iridescent whale breach that changes everything. Now there’s a turning point to aspire to!

Life of Pi Trailer