Life of Pi is an extraordinary 3D adventure. It is a film I will forever remember. With astonishing visual effects, showing what it means to be human, and a remarkable storyline between the two central characters, Life of Pi is unquestionably a great film. I fully recommend this film for it is so much more than a film. It is an experience.
In an Author’s Note, an anonymous author figure explainsthat he traveled from his home in Canada to India because he wasfeeling restless. There, while sipping coffee in a café in the townof Pondicherry, he met an elderly man named Francis Adirubasamy whooffered to tell him a story fantastic enough to give him faith in God.This story is that of Pi Patel. The author then shifts into the storyitself, but not before telling his reader that the account will comeacross more naturally if he tells it in Pi’s own voice.
Part One is narrated in the first person by Pi. Pi narratesfrom an advanced age, looking back at his earlier life as a highschool and college student in Toronto, then even further back tohis boyhood in Pondicherry. He explains that he has suffered intenselyand found solace in religion and zoology. He describes how Francis Adirubasamy,a close business associate of his father’s and a competitive swimmingchampion, taught him to swim and bestowed upon him his unusual name.Pi is named after the Piscine Molitor, a Parisian swimming clubwith two pools that Adirubasamy used to frequent. We learn thatPi’s father once ran the Pondicherry Zoo, teaching Pi and his brother,Ravi, about the dangerous nature of animals by feeding a live goatto a tiger before their young eyes. Pi, brought up as a Hindu, discoversChristianity, then Islam, choosing to practice all three religionssimultaneously. Motivated by India’s political strife, Pi’s parentsdecide to move the family to Canada; on June 21, 1977,they set sail in a cargo ship, along with a crew and many cagesfull of zoo creatures.
At the beginning of Part Two, the ship is beginning tosink. Pi clings to a lifeboat and encourages a tiger, Richard Parker,to join him. Then, realizing his mistake in bringing a wild animalaboard, Pi leaps into the ocean. The narrative jumps back in timeas Pi describes the explosive noise and chaos of the sinking: crewmembersthrow him into a lifeboat, where he soon finds himself alone witha zebra, an orangutan, and a hyena, all seemingly in shock. His familyis gone. The storm subsides and Pi contemplates his difficult situation.The hyena kills the zebra and the orangutan, and then—to Pi’s intensesurprise—Richard Parker reveals himself: the tiger has been in thebottom of the lifeboat all along. Soon the tiger kills the hyena,and Pi and Richard Parker are alone together at sea. Pi subsistson canned water and filtered seawater, emergency rations, and freshlycaught sea life. He also provides for the tiger, whom he mastersand trains.
The days pass slowly and the lifeboat’s passengers coexistwarily. During a bout of temporary blindness brought on by dehydration, Pihas a run-in with another blind castaway. The two discuss food andtether their boats to one another. When the blind man attacks Pi,intending to eat him, Richard Parker kills him. Not long after,the boat pulls up to a strange island of trees that grow directlyout of vegetation, without any soil. Pi and Richard Parker stayhere for a time, sleeping in their boat and exploring the islandduring the day. Pi discovers a huge colony of meerkats who sleepin the trees and freshwater ponds. One day, Pi finds human teethin a tree’s fruit and comes to the conclusion that the island eatspeople. He and Richard Parker head back out to sea, finally washingashore on a Mexican beach. Richard Parker runs off, and villagerstake Pi to a hospital.
In Part Three, two officials from the Japanese Ministryof Transport interview Pi about his time at sea, hoping to shedlight on the fate of the doomed ship. Pi tells the story as above,but it does not fully satisfy the skeptical men. So he tells itagain, this time replacing the animals with humans: a ravenous cookinstead of a hyena, a sailor instead of a zebra, and his motherinstead of the orangutan. The officials note that the two storiesmatch and that the second is far likelier. In their final report,they commend Pi for living so long with an adult tiger.